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Doris (Wenchel) Nostrand (Elementary Education) traveled for much of 2016. Nostrand returned from a cruise on the Mississippi River in August and traveled from St. Louis to Red Wing, Minn., on the American Queen. She was sorry to miss the annual reunion celebration, but wrote fondly of her trips. “There were many interesting stops, history, entertainment, good food and interesting people,” she said. “I even stopped at the Mall of America, which is the most visited spot in the United States!”


John Whritner (Elementary Education) and his wife Katherine (Ferraro) Whritner ’58 (Elementary Education) celebrated 60 years of marriage with a trip to Cape Cod with their three children. Kay went on to earn a master’s degree from Connecticut College and her sixth year degree from University of Connecticut. She was a school psychologist in Waterford, Conn., McComb County, Mich., and Wilton, Conn. John completed his Doctorate of Education degree at Teachers College, Columbia University, while he was teaching and serving as a principal in White Plains, N.Y. He later served as Superintendent of Schools in East Lyme, Conn., Grosse Point, Mich., and Greenwich, Conn. The couple has since retired to East Lyme, Conn., and have five grandchildren. 


Bruce Colin (Art Education) is a retired special education teacher. Since retirement, he has volunteered in India (Chandra Program - Art as a Healing Process for Widows and their Children (three seasons)) and several times in Africa. Colin participated in the Teacher Training and Educational Project volunteer program with African Impact in June 2016, where he worked with many children who were orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic. The contributions made by the African Impact Team were quite extraordinary. “I truly admired the caliber of my fellow volunteers,” said Colin. “Composed of young ambitious, bright, caring and enthusiastic college students, our little global community functioned well as a team with each person contributing their strengths and talents to the schools, medical clinics and old age homes in Livingstone.” From the very first day, working in the community schools went beyond Colin’s expectations. Kathy, Linda School principal, teachers Audrey, Sidney and the rest of the staff of dedicated teaching volunteers were a marvel. “I immediately felt honored and deeply moved to be shown such genuine emotion from a group of children whose existence (HIV - orphans) is so vulnerable. These first impressions were affirmed more and more each day. How fortunate after 29 years of teaching in NYC to have had the opportunity to teach in an environment where I was able to use my art education skills to introduce a few art lessons that enabled the students to experience forms of self expression that were beneficial and exciting.” This was Colin’s third volunteer placement with African Impact. “Professors like Benjamin Karp, Selma Pfieffenberger and Heinz Meng inspire me to this day. Thank you, New Paltz.” 

Norvelle (Scheu) Pulver (Elementary Education B-6 Mathematics) announced the passing of her husband, Bruce A. Pulver, who was a former staff member in the campus printshop. They were happily married for more than 50 years. Their two sons are Lt. Col. Bruce R. Pulver, now Commandant of the Army School of Music, and Christopher K. Pulver, a retired Marine and now a computer technical specialist.


Janet (Schwartzman) Weisenfreund (Communication - Public Communication) sent her best wishes to the class of 1966 celebrating their 50th class reunion. 


Jack (John) Jordan (Secondary Education 7-12 Social Studies) ’89g (Educational Administration) retired after a successful career in public education where he was a high school teacher, basketball and golf coach, principal, B.O.C.E.S. director and superintendent of schools. After graduating from New Paltz, he has been the editor of the New York Sportsman magazine, a professional golfer and currently works winters as a full-time ski instructor at Belleayre Mountain. He serves on the Board of Directors of PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America). He would like to give much credit for his success to his New Paltz golf and basketball coach, the late Doug Sheppard, for his guidance and direction. 


Lawrence Bleier (Secondary Education 7-12 Social Studies) shares that his son, Richard Bleier, was a left-handed relief pitcher for the New York Yankees this past season. Blier writes, “He performed very well, and I hope he’s back with them in 2017!”

Linda (Uliss) Burke (History) recently retired as Deputy City Attorney for Milwaukee, Wis., after 14 years in that position and 36 years in the Office of the Milwaukee City Attorney.

Lawrence Garf (Elementary Education) released his new book, “Hey, Quit Pushing: How We Put Children At Risk By Starting Academics Too Early.” A guide for parents as well as teachers, it exposes how pushing students can be highly counterproductive, resulting in increased levels of anxiety, inaccurate diagnoses of learning disabilities, but not higher academic achievement.

Kathleen McGrath Kraus (Elementary Education Pre K-6 Sociology) never really left New Paltz, having spent 25 years working on campus. She retired from SUNY New Paltz as Dean of Continuing and Professional Education, then purchased Cruise Planners, an American Express travel representative franchise. Despite the name, she is a full-service travel agency with their home-based office in New Paltz. Being in business for three years, she is thrilled with the growth of her business.



Tomas Morales (Secondary Education 7-12 Social Studies) is currently president of California State University in San Bernardino, Calif. He was presented the Ohtli Award, Mexico’s highest honor presented to a civilian outside the country. 

Susan Stessin-Cohn (Elementary Education Pre K-6 Anthropology), ’92g (Elementary Education) along with Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini, will present their new book, “In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831” at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz, N.Y. This collection of fugitive slave advertisements tells much about the lives of self-emancipated blacks in the rural North, especially the Hudson River Valley. 


Scott Kornhauser (Secondary Education 7-12 English) returned to campus to participate in a data analytics panel. Currently he is CEO of Park Street Solutions, in Naperville, Ill. He has more than 30 years of experience building and deploying healthcare information technologies, including benefits management and clinical decision support systems. 


Award-winning actor, director and writer John Turturro (Theatre Arts) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his work on the HBO miniseries “The Night Of.” He was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie for the same role. Turturro shared his feelings of appreciation and gratitude toward the SUNY New Paltz Theatre Program and its beloved faculty in a recent interview for Alec Baldwin’s podcast, “Here’s The Thing.” During the nearly hour-long segment produced by WNYC Studios he said, “I had a few teachers who took me under their wing and had a major influence on my life.” 

Patrice Tomaso (Art Education), ’86g (Painting) was named one of WNYT in Albany, New York’s 13 Top Educators. She was nominated by one of her students and selected from over 250 nominations. She has taught in the Chatham Central School District in New York since 1980, having taught art at their middle school from 1980 through 1989 and then moving to the high school where she also teaches art. In September 2016 she entered her 37th year as an art teacher, teaching sculpture, woodcarving, drawing and painting, ceramics, studio in art, Adobe Photoshop and Exploring Art, a dry media course. 


Susan (Rubenstein) DeMasi (Theatre Arts) a friend of The Living New Deal and Professor of Library Services at Suffolk County Community College, has just completed the first biography on Henry Alsberg. “Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force of the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project” will be released in late summer/early fall. 

Edward Renehan (Political Science) has written “Desperate Voyage: Donald Crowhurst, The London Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, and the Tragedy of Teignmouth Electron,” which has been published electronically, print, and in audio editions by New Street Communications. The book recounts the tale that serves as the inspiration for the 2017 film “The Mercy,” starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth. 


Claudia (Thibodeau) Gibson (Music) recently released her first solo album, “Step By Step,” produced by Gordy Quist of the Band of Heathens. Claudia lives in the Austin, Texas, area and writes and performs original Americana music. Find more on her website,

Marlene Wiedenbaum ’83g (Humanistic Education) was featured on the cover of the June 2016 “ArtTimes.” She recently held an exhibit “Capturing Color: Contemporary Pastels” at the Spencertown Academy in Spencertown, N.Y., another group exhibit, “The Hudson Valley Luminists” in Newburgh, N.Y., and “Blue” at the Mark Gruber Gallery in New Paltz, N.Y. 


Charles Dalmas (Music) just completed his 20th season as the principal clarinetist in the International Symphony Orchestra. He also recently celebrated anniversaries with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 132 Repulse, where he has been the music director for six years, and the Phoenix Concert Band, where he has been the musical director for seven years. He also recently achieved the rank of Bronze Life Master at the bridge table as a member of the American Contract Bridge League.

Daniel Gonzalez (International Relations) was recently named Vice President, Strategic Research & Communications at AT&T in Washington, D.C.

Bethanne (Rosenthal) Weiss (Business Administration) was inspired by SUNY New Paltz coach Joseph Owens and has become a successful fitness professional and founder of FUNIQ Fitness. Weiss just published her first book, “Move Your Assets: From the Chair, Not the Bank!”

Sue Sheehan (Psychology) ’89g (Humanistic-Multicultural Education) is a new member of SUNY Orange Foundation’s Board of Directors. She is also a retired professor and administrator at SUNY Orange. In addition she is a member of the boards of directors of the Middletown Kiwanis Club and the Salvation Army, and is chair of the local CTEA Committee at SUNY Orange.


Richard Bagala (Communication Studies) is a four-time Emmy Award-winning producer. He spoke at the annual Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz Scholarship Breakfast held at Mohonk Mountain House. He currently works for WNYW-TV Fox 5 as a senior producer and sports special projects producer. He has won 14 Associated Press Awards and four Emmy Awards for his work on “After Superstorm Sandy,” “Broadway & Beyond,” “Giants Kickoff,” “U.S. Open Golf Extra Show” and the series “Home Grown, A Sporting Life.” The Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz awards Educational Scholarships each year recognizing unique individuals who have made a difference in the community, school or workplace. The recipients of this year’s awards were honored at the breakfast. 

Dean Jones (Communication Studies) has released a new album “In my Dreams.” A Grammy winner who has been nominated four times, he has carved out a career in music for children. The manner in which the music Jones makes manifests itself has a lot to do with the beauty and inspiration that can be found in the Hudson Valley, where he currently resides with his family.

Theodor Kaufman (Biology) is working as a general surgeon and serves as the program director for the surgical residency in Cooperstown, N.Y. His daughter graduated from New York University and is working at Yahoo News. His son attends Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He welcomes old friends to get in touch with him by email.


Luba Havraniak (Business Administration) is still teaching. Currently she is teaching art at a North Carolina Charter School and she loves it. She is also working on developing a winery. Land has been purchased, and she has much work to do. 


Robert Donaldson (Nursing) presented a copy of his twovolume history, “Chronicles of Ulster,” to be included in the town archives. He spent 13 years researching the history of the town of Kingston and its bluestone industry. He currently is an adjunct professor in law and legal research at Dutchess Community College.

Jennifer Lofaro (Communication Studies, English) was honored by 914INC. Westchester Magazine at the sixth annual 2016 Women in Business awards luncheon, which took place in November 2016. She was among a group of 18 women recognized for their business accomplishments. Currently she is a partner at Bleakley Platt & Schmidt.

Lori Umberto (Visual Arts Education) has been named the new museum director of the Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden in Woodbury, Conn. Set in the picturesque Litchfield Hills in historic Woodbury’s village center, the Glebe House is one of the earliest historic house museums in the nation. Its architecture, outstanding regional furniture collection and Gertrude Jekyll Garden combine to create one of the most authentic house museums in the region. Through tours, educational programs and special events, The Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden continues to give visitors a sense of what life was like in the 18th century.


Lynne Elson (Theatre Arts) creates videos for kids to learn yoga. She writes, “I am so happy to be sharing all my faves wrapped up into one: theatre, yoga and film!” Her videos can be found online at or SwamiCat’s channel on YouTube.

Mark Rumnit (History) has been hired as the director of the Scholars Mentorship Program at SUNY New Paltz. He has been an employee at the College since 2008, when he took a position as an academic advisor with the Educational Opportunity Program. He transitioned to Academic Advising in 2012, and over the years has served hundreds of students, assisting with academic challenges like course selection and fulfillment of major requirements and also helping them acclimate to college life through counseling at various stages of their undergraduate careers.


Adam Breier (Secondary Education 7-12 English) has debuted his poetry collection, now available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For information, please visit his website at



Tonya Leslie (Secondary Education 7-12 English) graduated in May 2016 with her doctorate in Teaching and Learning from New York University. Dr. Leslie is currently a vice president at Scholastic in New York City.


Joseph La Penna (Theatre Arts) writes, “Just when I thought I made it out of New Paltz and far away, I moved back some 20 years later! It was supposed to be a short stay but then a funny thing happened along the way. I popped the question, got a puppy, and as of July 2016 my wife and I had a baby girl. We also opened the first floatation therapy spa in the Hudson Valley. It’s an amazing mind/body experience that I highly suggest everyone tries. Hope to see you. Float On!”


John Schrader (Communication Media) released his latest CD, “21 Summers.” It was officially submitted to The Recording Academy and nominated for a Grammy in the categories “Best New Rock Album” and “Best New Alternative Music Album” for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in 2016. John wrote all the songs on “21 Summers” and performed all vocals and all instruments as well. John recorded and mixed the CD at his studio, JLS Sound in New York. John Produced “21 Summers” along with Executive Producer and co-Producer David Mobley in Dallas, Texas. John has also been busy scoring music for television shows for Bill Diamond Productions in Cornwall, N.Y. and performing in and doing music for commercials for Big Chief Entertainment in New York City. 


Adrienne Gliha-Bell (Psychology) recently celebrated the 3rd anniversary of her non-profit consulting and grant writing business NY Grant Assist. She works with both small local organizations and larger ones and specializes in grants for educational and social service groups. She is also a dedicated volunteer for the NYS PTA and currently serves as their Rural Schools Specialist. She was recently appointed to the NYS education commissioner’s Principals Project Advisory Team. In her free time she enjoys hiking and kayaking in the Adirondack Mountains that she calls home. 


Jeremy Feig (Communication Media) recently published his first book, “How My Cat Made Me a Better Man” with MSI Press. It’s a humorous self-help book for guys, based on the lessons of an edgy cat named Shelly. It includes useful advice on topics like relationships, dealing with stress, and even grooming habits. The Midwest Book Review recently listed it as “highly recommended.” He held a book signing at the Santa Monica, Calif., Barnes & Noble in October 2016. For more information, visit his website at


Gregory Bray (Communication Media) co-wrote a narrative film “Liner Notes” with his brother John Patrick Bray ’00, which debuted at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film was also an Audience Award Finalist at the HiFF and a Best Screenplay Finalist at the Chandler Film Festival in 2016. 


Jessica Diaz (Visual Arts) along with her husband, has developed a new skin care line, “CLEAN by DirtyBeautyShop.” Their products are made in small batches using all natural and organic ingredients with no chemical fillers. Skin care kits as well as a new men’s line can be found on Etsy.



Alan Petersen (Biology) is a crime scene analyst with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, received an associate’s degree in Commercial Photography and a certificate in Fire Investigation from the College of Southern Nevada. He became certified as a forensic photographer with the International Association for Identification.


William Shaughnasey (History) announced his third solo show, “Natural Abstraction,” which was held in July and August 2016 in the Blue Hill Gallery at Columbia-Greene Community College. The photography in the show was separated into two galleries based on nature photography and abstract digital art. The natural gallery was based on his adventures, and the various fauna and landscapes, where some of the images might have an abstract bent. As an avid hiker, Bill explored most of Columbia County and its surrounding areas. This show will include works from past adventures in Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore. He currently is a Columbia County, N.Y., resident and is a past exalted ruler from Hudson Elks Lodge #787, and a member of Columbia County Council on the Arts and Columbia County Photo Club. This show was dedicated to his parents, Dan and Rose Shaughnasey, who taught him to be safe and allow him to dream his dreams. 


Andrew Hackmack (Journalism) has been hired as an account executive at Syntax Communications, a public relations firm on Long Island primarily servicing school districts.

Alexander Marrero (Music) is the founder, coach and accompanist for the “Bach In The Church” an Intensive Summer Music Program in Congers, N.Y.

David Robinowitz (Sculpture) will appear on the eighth season of “Ink Master,” the reality series on Spike TV.


Lauren (Forney) Grogan ’04g (Visual Arts) works as a Holistic Health Coach and Registered Yoga teacher. She recently published her first eBook on “Baby’s First Foods,” which she wrote, illustrated, photographed and designed. Lauren hopes to make life a little easier for other parents who are at that stage of introducing solids to their baby and who are looking to feed their baby healthy options. She resides near the shore in Red Bank, N.J., with her husband and 15-month old son. 


Michael Circe (Childhood Education) ’09g (Childhood Education 1-6 History), US Air Force Airman 1st Class, graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. He earned distinction as an honor graduate and is the husband of Shana Circe ’02 (Art Education) ’08g (Visual Arts Education). He is currently serving part time as a Nondestructive Inspection Specialist at the 105th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard. He teaches full time as an Instructional Literacy Coach with the Kingston City School District.

Esperanza (Hernandez) Ahad (Marketing) celebrates her new ownership of Too Sweet Consignment Boutique in Warwick, N.Y.

Jesse Lasky ’05 (Communication Media) and Danielle Stern ’05 (Elementary Education) welcomed a baby boy named Harrison Scott Lasky on August 19, 2016. He was born in Los Angeles, where they currently reside. 


Erica Ellis (Journalism) has been named Columbia University’s new associate athletics director and chief financial officer. She arrives at Columbia after having worked as both a senior financial analyst and financial manager at The Washington Post. In addition she has experience in the college athletics sector after having served as an assistant business manager in The George Washington University Athletics Department, the athletics business and finance director at Wagner College and as the assistant business manager/ athletics ticket manager at Wagner. In all three positions, she worked with budget management, processing, purchasing and financial analysis. 


Jeffrey Fonda (International Relations) was named to Literacy International’s “30-under-30” list for his work developing a network of libraries in Uganda through the organization he founded in 2011, The Literate Earth Project. 

Sarah Weikel (English) ’12g (English) recently received the “Rising Star Fundraiser” award from the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a professional organization that provides resources to fundraising professionals who serve approximately 4,500 public charities registered in the six counties in the Mid- Hudson Valley.

Michael Zupa (Childhood Education) has won the 2016 Teachers Excellence award from Success Academy Charter Schools.


Emma Corey (Visual Arts) was hired as director of marketing and communications for Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, N.Y. Many who work there are alumni and current students on the seasonal staff. 

Marie DiLeonardo (Sociology) graduated from the New York University Silver School of Social Work with a Master’s of Social Work degree. She is currently and admissions counselor at Caldwell University in Caldwell, N.J.

Douglas Eberhardt (MFA) ’12g exhibited work in the group exhibition “Carry on,” hosted by Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, N.Y. The exhibition was curated by New Paltz professors Andrea Frank and Jill Parisi-Phillips.

Holly Relyea (Painting, Visual Arts Education) has won the 2016 Teacher Excellence Award from Success Academy Charter Shcools where she teaches Science.

Eric Wharton (Political Science) graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law in July 2016, earning a Juris Doctor.


Rosella Calauti (Humanistic Multicultural Education) has been awarded the Purple Dragonfly Book Award for her book “Friends,” an exquisitely woven tale of friendship that inspires young readers to nurture their social selves and build healthy, well-rounded relationships in the real world. This award recognizes excellence in children’s literature given by Five Star Publications. 


Jeremy Acevedo (Sociology) has been awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship. The Fulbright support enables Acevedo to return to the Czech Republic to work and study at a medical school in the city of Pilsen.

Meg Brewer (Psychology) has been hired as the new assistant softball coach for Cottey College, Nevada, Mo. She will assist with recruiting and instruction. She is a native of Bayport, N.Y., and has spent the past two seasons playing and coaching in Denmark with the Gladsaxe Softball and Baseball Club in greater Copenhagen. Previously a member of the Danish Softball Federation, she served as a clinic instructor.

Kevin Cieplensky (Ceramics) won Best in Show (Ceramics) at this year’s Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition. His work was on view at the New York State Museum in Albany, N.Y., through Oct. 23, 2016. He also received a $1,000 scholarship for his work “Untitled.”

Elizabeth Melnyczuk (Printmaking), Lilia Perez (Photography), and Terry Phan (Photography) exhibited work in the group exhibition “Carry on,” hosted by Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, N.Y. The exhibition was curated by New Paltz professors Andrea Frank and Jill Parisi-Phillips. 

Clare Profous (Spanish, International Relations) has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship. She will teach English at a high school in Madrid. She also plans to volunteer to provide language instruction at the nearby U.S. Embassy. The passion for international relations she demonstrated and developed through her internships goes hand in hand with her desire to teach English to residents of foreign nations.

Selby Smith (Photography) exhibited work in the group exhibition “Carry on,” hosted by Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, N.Y. The exhibition was curated by New Paltz professors Andrea Frank and Jill Parisi- Phillips.

Vincent Spano (Printmaking) exhibited work in the group exhibition “Carry on,” hosted by Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, N.Y. The exhibition was curated by New Paltz professors Andrea Frank and Jill Parisi- Phillips.

Andrew Ugolino ’15g (Second Language Education) has been awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship. The scholarship will support him as he teaches English in a new environment, at the University of Sucre, in Sincelejo, Colombia. He sees the experience as preparation for future work with the largely Spanish-speaking population of Hudson Valley migrant youth.