1 9 7 9 Wellesley RAH! 


Hello 79er’s!

The inauguration of Paula Johnson as Wellesley’s 14th President was just amazing.  There were several thousand people in attendance and the enthusiasm and excitement about our first African American president was palpable.  I was honored to represent our class in the Alumni ‘parade’ – we were dressed in yellow, red, green and purple respectively. There were warm, funny and poignant greetings from Senator Elizabeth Warren on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University on behalf of institutions of higher learning; Kathleen McCartney, President of Smith College on behalf of institutions of higher learning dedicated to educating women; and Vivian Pinn ’62, Senior Scientist Emerita, National Institutes of Health, on behalf of the community of scientists dedicated to women’s health.  President Johnson’s own speech was thoughtful and inspiring!  We are so fortunate that our trustees have chosen this woman to lead our dear alma mater.

The night before the inauguration was great fun, as Pam Wood organized a ’79 Connects at Bocado Tapas Wine Bar.  Susan Davis Bailey, Beth Bernhardt, Fyj Johnson, Pam Wood and I had a lovely evening connecting and reconnecting.  And, then during the inauguration, there were sightings (and photos posted on our closed class Facebook page) and joyous hugs shared by Cindy Carlson Beckham, Carole Jansson Ely, Martha O’Neill, Judy Colenback Savage, and Julia Walker.  I’m pretty sure that I saw Mary White in the procession, although I wasn’t able to find her in the crowds.  And, Barbara Newell, President of the College during our time on campus was also in the procession (does anyone remember “Babs Renewal” from our Junior Show?).

Being on campus gave me time to reflect on our shared experiences – past, present and future.  Reconnecting with Wellesley women, especially classmates, is so rewarding and just plain old fun.  Speaking of fun, how about our ’79 Connects? (Any gathering of three or more classmates qualifies.)  In July, I had the great good fortune to meet up with Carrie Becker, Kathie Galotti, and Jill Trescott in Northfield, MN for brunch.  And how about the gathering in Rhode Island, organized by Anne Thomas in August?  Beth Bernhardt, Nancy Dart, Joyce Greer, Cindy Guendert, Joan Khattab, Judy Colenback Savage, Linda Siptroth, Pam Wood, and Yisraela Ellyn Yehudit all joined in for a fantastic sunny day at the beach. Yvonne Bos, Jamie Graham and Alex Lukawsky Marable met for lunch in July.  Lynn Groark Fairfield-Sonn and Cindy Guendert were joined by Amy Howard Chase, Nancy Dart, Joyce Greer, Alida Leino, Anne Thomas, and Yisraela Ellyn Yehudit.  And, Kathryn Bishop, Christina Redfield and Mary-Jeanne Tufano began the new year with afternoon tea in the London area. 

We have heard many recurring themes from the ’79 Connects.  Fun! Inspirational! Never ran out of things to talk about! How could I not have known this classmate before? Shared experiences (child care, elder care, transitions, retirement, work, graduate school)! An appreciation for the opportunity to connect in a small group and either connect for the first time or reconnect after many years.  And throughout it all, just a plain old good time!

As we look forward to our next reunion (gulp, it’s our 40th!), your class officers are willing to organize a class mini-reunion next year.  I’m not sure if I should you remind you of this, but many of us will be turning the big 6-0 in 2017.  Some will not, but we thought that our collective 60th birthday provides us with a great excuse for a get together.  So, please, please, please, continue reading and take our survey!

Jody Strakosch

Class President

PS If you want to organize a ’79 Connects in the fall, just let Martha O’Neill and Mary Vaskas know and we’ll post the information on our Facebook page as well as our class page on the alumnae website.

News from our Vice President, Martha O'Neill  

Greetings to everyone!

I hope that all is well with everyone and that everyone has a good holiday season ahead! Many thanks to all of you who have helped organize and participate in mini-reunions this year.  It is wonderful to hear about the great get-togethers and connections that have been happening in localities around the world.  Please let me or any of the other officers know if we can ever be of assistance to you in scheduling a ’79 Connects event in your hometown or locating an event to attend.  An “event” can be as simple as meeting for coffee at a designated time and place.  I think everyone agrees that it is the chance to converse that matters the most.

That said, we do have a big year coming up in 2017 and good reasons to plan a class mini-reunion.  We will be more than half-way toward our next reunion and most of us will have a milestone birthday in 2017.  Please help us determine if you want a bigger scale mini-reunion to be part of your year and if so, what type of mini-reunion would interest you.  Just click on the link below and answer a short survey.  We will mail the survey to the 110 classmates for whom we do not have email addresses.  We appreciate any help you can give us with continuing to obtain email addresses and we very much appreciate your feed-back with this survey so that we can better serve you!  Please also feel free to contact me or any of the other officers with your thoughts and ideas.


Please respond to the survey by January 12, 2017.  We will send a reminder approximately a week before.  

News from our Treasurer, Donna Edwards

We have 178 class life members and hope to reach 50% by our 40th reunion.  For those of you math whizzes, we have 502 members in our class, so we have a short distance to go to get to 251.  Just 73 more classmates…And, if you’re not sure if you have already paid your dues, you can check the list on our Class web page under the tab ‘Support 1979’.

Please note that the check should be mailed directly to me (Donna Edwards), payable to the Wellesley College Class of 1979, in the amount of $100.  Class dues do not count as a gift to the Wellesley, although dues are a tax-deductible item.  My address is 716 West Hills Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21229. 

News from our Secretary, Dorrie Voorhis Graul

Please let me know you have been doing – all stories are welcome.  Have you moved? Have you ‘retired’? Have you started a new adventure? We have 500 words in every magazine issue and I would love to struggle to fit all the information in.  This is one of the ways that we can continue to connect with one another, so send news!

News from our web mistress, Mary Vaskas

Missing Alumnae

We are missing 39 classmates.  Please help us find them so that we can reconnect them to our Class and to Wellesley.  The list is posted on our class webpage. If you are in touch with one of the “missing”, please forward this email to them and encourage them to register on the Alumnae webpage.

Mini-Reunion Photo Fun

If you haven’t made it to a mini-reunion or just want to relive the fun, visit the Mini-Reunions Photo Album (https://1979.alum.wellesley.ed/images.html?view_album=3)!  (And if you have more photos to add, send them to me and I’ll upload them).

News from our Annual Fund Rep, Yvonne Bos

Counting down for our class 40th Reunion Gift

Thanks to all those who have made a gift in this past fiscal year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016).  We have a 41.7% participation rate, which means that 174 of us have made a contribution during this time period.  We have 25 Durants (gifts of $2500 or more) and in aggregate, we have raised $1,139,948. 

This fiscal year, we have received $509,756 in cash donations so far from 28 donors.  If you usually make your gifts before calendar yearend, please do so before the holidays when we all get even busier!  It’s as easy as going to www.wellesley.edu/give. Thanks!

Ideas? Suggestions? Comments?

Please let us know how we can best serve you!  Please reach out to any of us directly with your ideas and suggestions.

            Jody, Martha, Donna, Dorrie, Mary and Yvonne