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Class Notes

Spotlight Stories

Sometimes the most random event can lead to a college reunion. For retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dave Fox ’63 (BUS) and his wife, Cindy (Beck) Fox ’65 (CLAS), a retired teacher, it happened when they were viewing some old photos they had recently digitized.

As they sat in their living room watching the images on a big screen TV, one popped up showing Dave’s fraternity brother, Allan Neubauer ’64 (BUS), with Cindy’s father. The photo, shown above, depicted the two in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

The Foxes were dumbstruck by the connection. They never knew that Neubauer, a U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant, and Cindy’s father, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Louis Beck, had known each other, much less been stationed together during the war. It prompted the Foxes to track down Neubauer and set up a reunion that had been a long time coming (the three are shown above outside a restaurant in Washington, D.C.). “It was great to reunite with both Dave and Cindy after almost 60 years,” Neubauer says. “I had tried to find them several times over the years, including using social media, but to no avail.”

They discovered that they live about 1,500 miles apart. Neubauer, a retired procurement manager for maintenance and engineering services for BASF Corp., lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife, Linda. The Foxes live in Arnold, Maryland. “Now that we know where each of us lives, I hope we can get together on a more frequent basis,” Neubauer says.

When former UConn Huskies men’s basketball player Lee Barbach ’74 (ED) lost his battle with glioblastoma, a fast-growing, deadly type of brain cancer, five years ago, his daughter, Amber, created a nonprofit to raise funds for brain cancer research. To date, the Glioblastoma Research Organization has funded five research projects at leading U.S. cancer centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic, and has created a social media community connecting brain cancer caregivers. Find out more at

Lee Barbach, left.

I always think so fondly of my time at UConn, writes Anthony DiChiara ’05 (CLAS). I owe everything to my experience. I met my wife Melissa DiChiara ’04 (CLAS) there, which led to my career in fire safety, but more importantly our two daughters — our youngest actually was born on the 15-year anniversary of the day we met during Homecoming 2002! Our girls have become huge Husky fans and we look forward to taking them to their first game this season.

My family’s link to UConn has continued to impact our lives in positive ways. In the Summer 2019 issue of the magazine, the story “Team Impact: A Winning Way to Heal” by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu caught my eye. After researching the organization, I thought it would be something that would benefit our oldest daughter, Penelope, who was born with a very rare genetic disorder called Emanuel Syndrome.

We had an amazing experience with Team Impact, being matched with the Molloy University Softball team here on Long Island. The players openly accepted Penelope as a teammate and Penelope always enjoyed her time attending games, practices, and other events with the team. Penelope recently “graduated,” becoming a Team Impact alumna, but we still plan on staying involved with the teams.

Our family will be forever grateful to UConn. So much can be said about how our experiences on campus have shaped our lives. Go Huskies!


Sondra Melzer ’57 (ED) recently published a book of poetry, “It Was Right Not to Love Him So Much.” A retired professor emerita at Sacred Heart University, she also was an adjunct professor at UConn Stamford. Melzer taught for 40 years in public schools in Stamford, Connecticut, where she was department chair at Westhill High School. A scholar of the novels of Philip Roth, she also published “The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker.” She lives with her husband, Franklin Melzer ’56 (CLAS), an attorney, in Stamford.


Dom Armentano ’63 MA, ’66 Ph.D. reports that he has been writing op-eds on public policy since 1970, including a recent one for The Hill about the continuing mystery surrounding the origin and identity of exotic UFOs. Armentano retired in 1995 from the University of Hartford, where he was a professor of economics. He and his wife of 56 years live in Vero Beach, Florida.

Mark Shenkman ’65 (CLAS), ’07 H, the founder and president of Shenkman Capital Management, received the Museum of American Finance’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding career in the investment industry.

Gerri Lipman King ’68 (CLAS) of Concord, New Hampshire, shares an update. She is a social psychologist and organizational consultant, and her work takes her throughout the United States and, occasionally, abroad. She says she doesn’t plan to even semi-retire until she’s 102 because the work is so satisfying. She’s also written a book, “The DUH! Book of Management and Supervision: Dispelling Common Leadership Myths.”

Carol Milardo Floriani ’68 (NUR) reports that she has retired from hospice nursing and now lives in Easley, South Carolina. She also notes that she and her husband just celebrated 50 years of marriage with a cruise in the Southern Caribbean.

Local author Arno B. Zimmer ’68 (CLAS), of Fairfield, Connecticut, has come out with another book. “The Antiquary Book Murders: The Hunt for Little Dorrit” starts off with the murder of an elderly bookstore owner and the discovery of an 1857 copy of “Little Dorrit.”


Westport, Connecticut, attorney Edward Nusbaum ’70 (CLAS) is one of just three family law attorneys among the 171 lawyers recognized as prominent attorneys by Rutgers Law School over the past 110 years.

Charles Surasky ’71 (CLAS) and co-author Kent Halland received the Texas Numismatic Association’s highest honor, the Calvert K. Tidwell Literary Award. They were honored for their research and authorship of “The Surviving Postal Notes of Texas” about the experimental form of 19th-century U.S. postal money orders. Surasky also volunteers each week at the North Texas Community Food Pantry — often wearing his UConn Cares T-shirt. See Gallery

Board of Trustees Professor of English Literature and Feminist Theory Gina Barreca has a piece in “50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution” and has published “Fast Fallen Women,” the latest in her popular series of flash fiction and nonfiction compilations. The 75 essays in “Fast Fallen” include 27 by UConn alums, including Bobbie Ann Mason ’72 Ph.D., ’02 H, alongside new and original works by “bad girls” Amy Tan and Jane Smiley. Says Barreca in the book’s dedication, “Here’s to every woman who lost her virginity but kept the box it came in. Here’s to every woman who felt she was the only girl who wasn’t pure, perfect, and upright. And Mom, here’s to you: You were not a bad girl. You were simply ahead of your time.” See Gallery

Liz Scotta ’72 (CLAS) has summarized 20 sketchbooks of trips to France into her third book, “Not Just Paris: Scenes from France.” See Gallery

Susan M. Carroll ’73 (CLAS), ’75 MA, ’81 Ph.D. and her husband, David J. Carroll ’74 (CLAS), ’77 MSW, of Torrington, Connecticut, have published a new book, “Simplifying Statistics for Graduate Students.”

Rose Jung-Gaggero ’75 (SFA), a mixed media artist, was the featured artist for the 2nd Street Art Gallery of Fort Pierce, Florida, over the summer. She recently became a member of the Arts for ACT Gallery, the proceeds from which provide shelter and counseling for abused women.

David Mark Fetterman ’76 (CLAS) has published his 18th book, “Empowerment Evaluation and Social Justice — Confronting the Culture of Silence,” which he dedicated to his mother, Elsie Blumenthal Fetterman ’49 (ED), ’60 MS, ’64 MA, ’66 Ph.D. He is president and CEO of Fetterman and Associates, an international consulting firm, and is a faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute and Claremont Graduate University.

Robert J. Kirschenbaum ’76 (CLAS), ’78 MA, ’82 Ph.D. checks in with a life update. He continues to work as a school psychologist for the Clover Park School district in Lakewood, Washington, a job he’s held for 30 years. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books and is now working on a book called “(Learning) How to Grow Old.” He says he plans to retire someday but for now, tries to stay young at heart by playing music with friends and riding his Harley ’04 Sportster “very, very fast.” He says he would like to reconnect with a former undergraduate named Linda who worked with him at the Good Food Truck on campus back in the day. See Gallery

Curtis Tearte ’78 JD shared the news that he was honored with an alumni achievement award at the 75th anniversary of Brandeis University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1973. Tearte, a retired IBM executive, is chairman and co-founder of the Tearte Family Foundation, which partners with educational institutions and organizations to offer scholarships, mentoring, and leadership training to underrepresented and first-generation students. Congrats!

Stephanie (Green) Giancola ’78 (BUS) is living the dream. A former UConn cheerleader and self-proclaimed sports nut, she loves writing so much that she stayed an extra semester at UConn to take a coveted advanced creative writing course. Always a romantic, she has combined her passion for sports and writing to become a USA Today bestselling author. Under the pen name Stephanie Queen, Giancola has published more than 50 sports romance novels. Though she lives in New Hampshire, she still bleeds blue and returns for football and men’s basketball games every year. See Gallery

Rick Mahoney ’79 JD and Carolyn (Berner) Kelly ’72 (PT) regularly help out at the Midwest Food Bank, which sent water, food boxes, and personal hygiene kits from their Disaster Relief hub in Morton, Illinois, to Barre, Vermont, to help victims of the devastating flooding from mid-July storms.


Bill Keena ’81 (CLAS) is now market president at AmeriHealth Caritas of New Hampshire. He also has accepted a position on the board of the Granite United Way and serves on the National Volunteer Leadership Council for the March of Dimes.

Congrats to Roberta Wachtelhausen ’81 (ED) on being recognized by the Hartford Business Journal as a 2023 Power 50 member. She’s the president of WellSpark Health, a Farmington, Connecticut, provider of corporate wellness programs.

Jerome “Jerry” Lusa ’81 (CLAS), of Glastonbury, Connecticut, has published his second book of poetry, “Hometown Poems.” He says each free verse poem evokes a memory of a landmark in his hometown of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, up the road from the main campus. His first book of rhyming verse, “Backyard Poems,” came out in 2022.

Tom Connors ’83 MS, ’86 Ph.D. was elected vice president and state officer of the New Jersey School Boards Association for a two-year term. He has been a member of the Board of Education in Piscataway Township, New Jersey, for 14 years and is retired from the technology division of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.


 Anthony Susi ’90 MM reports that five of his newly published compositions have earned a JW Pepper Editor’s Choice designation. These include an original Motown-style piece, “Go Big or Go Home,” for jazz band; an original programmatic piece, “The Race,” for concert band; and a contemporary pairing of “Carol of the Bells” and “We Three Kings” for string orchestra.

 Meredith (Heisler) Rogers ’92 (CAHNR) reports that she and her nieces, Elsa and Lennon Heisler, have written a children’s book, “Little Leo’s First Big Show,” which she describes as a true story about her baby horse’s first dressage show.

 Kelli-Marie Vallieres ’92 (BUS), ’05 MA, ’08 Ph.D. was recognized by the Hartford Business Journal as a 2023 Power 50 member. She’s the chief workforce officer in Connecticut’s Office of Workforce Strategy.

 Pam Howard ’92 (SFA) and her firm Firebrick Design won Best in Show at the 47th Annual Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards for an invitation created for The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts annual fundraiser. The piece “produced a unique experience while balancing traditional type with modern design,” said Mike Marques, CADC’s executive director. See Gallery

 Namita Tripathi Shah ’93 (BUS) was elected to Day Pitney’s Executive Board. See Gallery

 Todj Gozdeck ’93 (BUS) was appointed partner at Citrin Cooperman, a professional services firm. He’s a leader in the firm’s transaction advisory services practice.

 Steven McHugh ’94 (ENG), an intellectual property lawyer, has joined Cantor Colburn LLP as a partner. McHugh has served as an assistant clinical professor of law and as supervising patent attorney at the UConn School of Law. Prior to practicing law, Steven held electrical engineering positions at United Technologies Corp., Timex Corp., and Dictaphone Corp. See Gallery

 Chris Trudeau ’95 (CLAS) recently was promoted to technical business operations lead in the group technology division of Informa, where he manages a team of more than 20 engineers and analysts. He’s been with the company for 26 years. See Gallery

 David DeArmas ’96 (CLAS) was named middle school principal of Fredericksburg Christian School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he had been director of athletics. He will still keep a hand in athletics, continuing on as head varsity football coach for the Eagles.

 Melissa Kaplan ’98 (CLAS) has published her first novel, “The Girl Who Tried to Change History,” a historical fiction tale set in London during World War II.

 Congrats to Christopher Barnes ’98 MA on being named president of Escalent, a data analytics and advisory firm. Before joining Escalent in 2016, he served as senior vice president for Acturus. Previously, he was senior advisor to the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and managing partner for Pulsar Research and Consulting. He also co-founded the Center for Survey Research & Analysis at UConn, where he led ongoing studies on the business climate. See Gallery


 Rachel Golembeski Criscuolo ’02 (CLAS) reports that she runs a speech therapy practice based in Shelton and Southbury, Connecticut, that primarily treats children with a range of communication delays and disorders.

 Olga F. Jarrín ’02 (NUR), ’07 MS, ’11 Ph.D. was appointed to the Hunterdon Endowed Professorship in Nursing Research at Rutgers University, where she’s been an associate professor in the School of Nursing. An internationally recognized scholar, her research focuses on gerontological nursing and health services. She leads multiple interdisciplinary research projects focused on improving health care delivery, equity, and outcomes for the elderly living with chronic and advanced illnesses.

 Linda De Jesus ’02 MBA was appointed global vice president and general manager of Integrated DNA Technologies. De Jesus previously served as senior vice president and chief commercial officer at Azenta Life Sciences.

 Hermann Trophy winner, three-time All-American, and member of UConn’s 2000 national championship team Chris Gbandi ’04 (CLAS) has taken over as men’s soccer head coach. Former coach Ray Reid retired in December. See Gallery

 Congrats to Dennis Nash ’04 MBA, the CEO of the software company Control Station in Manchester, Connecticut. He’s been named Connecticut’s 2023 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The USSBA recognized Nash as “a forward-thinking strategist who has positioned Control Station as an emerging leader in industrial process analytics and optimization,” noting his work that “transitioned the company from a hobby business into a Control Station that licenses solutions to half of the manufacturers listed in the Fortune 500.” The business supports facilities in more than 70 countries and employs a staff of 15.

 Chicago-based Dayton Street Partners has hired Joe Olin ’08 (BUS) as director of acquisitions for its Miami office. He most recently was vice president of acquisitions at Banyan Street Capital.


Ben Arsenault ’10 (CLAS), ’22 MBA was appointed deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, making him one of the youngest deputy commissioners in the state.

Garrett B. Cottrell ’10 (CLAS) was awarded the 2022 Coldwell Banker International Sterling Society sales award in Washington, D.C. The award is given to real estate brokers who sell 18 or more homes a year.

Shane R. Goodrich ’10 (CLAS), ’13 JD, a partner at the Morgan, Brown & Joy law firm in Boston, Massachusetts, was elected as a 2023 Excellence in the Law Honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Kyle Hayes ’10 (CLAS) joined Foley & Lardner LLP’s New York office as a partner in the firm’s finance practice group and a member of the energy sector.

Courtney Marie Donnelly ’11 (NUR) recently joined an outpatient surgery facility in North Carolina, having worked as a head nurse at the University of North Carolina Hospital and, before that, at Duke University Hospital. She lives with her husband, Brandon, and their 3-year-old daughter, Skylar Marie, in Timberlake, North Carolina. See Gallery

At the moment there are more than 1,300 species listed as endangered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. But there are five species no longer on that list, thanks to the efforts of Susan Meiman ’11 MS, and Melissa Booker ’90 (CAHNR),. See Gallery

Tim Stobierski ’11 (CLAS) has a new book of poetry published by Antrim House Books titled “Dancehall,” and billed as “a queer love story in five acts that follows the arc of a relationship from its earliest days to its final, somber conclusion.” See Gallery

Talk about perseverance! After 10 years of hard work and setbacks, including learning how to perform surgeries over video during the pandemic, Alanna Ferguson ’12 (CLAS) has finally become a veterinarian. She was inspired to take the plunge after observing the veterinarians at the hospital where she had been a technician. She took 10 prerequisite courses while working full time as a vet tech and eventually was accepted to St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. She is now training to become an emergency veterinarian at Ethos Veterinary Health. “I hit so many roadblocks along the way and had multiple amazing experiences working in different animal hospitals and countries (with leatherback sea turtles in Grenada and numerous types of wildlife in South Africa). It has all made me a stronger doctor and human,” she says.

Best wishes to Julia (Leonard) Cricchi ’12 (ED), ’13 MA and Kristopher Cricchi ’11 (CLAS), of Guilford, Connecticut, who were married in September 2021 at Mystic Seaport. See Gallery

Marty Summa ’12 (ED) was hired at Greenfly as a customer success manager for sports to help lead their collegiate athletics and small teams.

Benjamin Rafala ’13 (CLAS) graduated from the Connecticut State Police Academy in 2020 and is now a Connecticut State Trooper with Troop H in Hartford.

Captain Nicholas Hurley ’13 (CLAS), ’15 MA was selected by the U.S. Army Center of Military History as its 2023 Scholar in Residence. He will serve two years on active duty, first as an instructor in the history department at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, then as a staff member at the Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. He enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2010 and was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer through the UConn ROTC program in 2013. In civilian life, he served as curator of the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Rhea Debussy ’14 MA, ’18 Ph.D. was named an “Icon of Pride” for Columbus Pride, the Midwest’s second largest pride festival, in June 2023. Stonewall Columbus, which organizes the event, cited her transgender rights activism, legislative victories for the LGBTQ+ community, and impact in Ohio and beyond. See Gallery

Jen Morenus ’97 (SFA) ’18 MA; Leticia Quintino ’22 (BUS); Francine Quintino-Suchanek ’16 (CLAS); Camilla Vallejo ’19 (CLAS); and Silvia Luque-Blakz ’16 (BUS) traveled to Alfenas, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, for the Aug. 12 wedding of Quintino-Suchanek and shared a pic from the next-day barbecue. See Gallery

Jasmine Brown ’15 (CAHNR) was appointed as a board member of the American Forest Foundation. Brown, a doctoral student in forestry at Michigan State University, serves on the steering committee for the Women’s Forest Congress and is a member of the Society of American Foresters and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences. See Gallery

Jack Gordon ’17 MBA is now chief financial officer of Harri, a recruitment and workforce management platform for the hospitality industry. Gordon joined Harri in 2022 as senior vice president of finance.

Dr. Meenakshi Vishwanath ’17 MDS, was elected to the board of directors of the American Board of Orthodontics. She is an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry.

Hannah (Soto) Pilz ’17 (CLAS) and Griffin Pilz ’17 (CLAS) met senior year playing intramural soccer. This March they said goodbye to all the other fish in the sea and tied the knot at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay. She is a business analyst, and he a data engineer. See Gallery

Parker Gregory Shpak ’18 (CLAS) reports that he and business partner, Victor Tomasso, have launched a coffee roasting business called Those Guys Coffee Co. in New Hartford, Connecticut. They don’t have a store, but their coffee can be ordered online or found in a variety of cafés and retailers around the state.

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