Class Notes November 2019

Class Notes


Anita Solomon, CAS/BA ’56, CAS/MA ’62, CAS/PhD ’68, got a diploma in clinical psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology and completed a postdoctoral master of science degree in clinical psychopharmacology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is in her 30th year at Spring Grove Hospital in Catonsville, Maryland, where she works with mental health patients. 


Robert Gongloff, CAS/BA ’61, author of Dream Exploration: A New Approach, is the coeditor of two new books: Dreams That Change Our Lives and the second volume of Dreams: Understanding Biology, Psychology, and Culture. He lives in Malaga, Spain.

Jay Friedman, SIS/MA ’66, worked in public health for 36 years with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. He helped eradicate smallpox in several countries in Africa and Asia and worked in reproductive health at CDC headquarters in Atlanta. Friedman is now retired and lives in the Atlanta area.

Gene Rainey, SIS/PhD ’66, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, North Carolina’s highest honor for community service. He was twice elected to the Asheville City Council and twice chaired the board of county commissioners in Buncombe County. Rainey authored two textbooks on American foreign policy and established two nonprofits.

Phyllis White, CAS/BA ’66, completed her 18th year as a per diem history teacher at the Spence School in New York after completing 35 years as a teacher in Great Neck and Commack. She volunteers at Bottomless Closet, a nonprofit that helps low-income women dress and prepare for interviews and craft resumes.


Beckie Mirsch Laughlin, CAS/BA ’71, CAS/MFA ’73, exhibited her large format abstract paintings in a solo show, Whispers of Intuition, at the Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland.

Dennis Lucey, Kogod/MBA ’72, cochaired the American Ireland Fund national gala in Washington, DC, in March. The dinner raises funds to support peace and reconciliation programs, arts and culture, education, and community development throughout Ireland. 

James Brett, SPA/BA ’73, was appointed to the National Council on Disability by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He chairs both the Disabled Persons Protection Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability.

Robin Stein Bernstein, SIS/BA ’75, was nominated by President Donald Trump to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic and was sworn in on July 3, 2018. She and her family reside in Santo Domingo.

Robert Sandler, SPA/BA ’75, was included in The Best Lawyers in America 2020. He specializes in real estate law. 

Gary Shankman, CAS/MFA ’75, retired from the Sage Colleges in Albany and Troy, New York, after teaching for 32 years. Since 1978, he has taught for the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC. 


Konrad Kircher, SIS/MA ’85, received the J. Thomas Henretta Distinguished Advocate Award from the Ohio Association for Justice. 

Jonathan Berry, CAS/BS ’87, was promoted to distinguished member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Fred Bolton, CAS/BA ’87, and Jeanine Steinemer Jacob, SIS/BA ’91, were commissioned through the Georgetown University Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) while students at AU. They served as faculty instructors in the US Army’s distance education program.

Eileen Levitt, Kogod/BSBA ’88, was appointed to the Maryland Civil Rights Commission by Governor Larry Hogan and confirmed by the Maryland Senate. 


Esther Benjamin, SIS/MA ’92, CAS/MA ’95, was promoted to CEO and executive director of World Education Services.

Edgar Class, SPA/BA ’93, WCL/JD ’96, was promoted to partner in Wiley Rein LLP’s telecom, media, and technology practice. He represents US and multinational companies on regulatory and transactional matters involving telecommunications services and national security matters. Class chairs Wiley Rein’s Latino Lawyers Affinity Group and is a former president of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Francis DiClemente, SOC/MA ’93, wrote Dreaming of Lemon Trees (Finishing Line Press), a full-length poetry collection.

Olga Fleming, SIS/BA ’93, was inducted into PRWeek’s Hall of Femme on June 5, 2019. She is CEO of Y&R PR, a public relations agency within the WPP/BCW family of companies, and has worked in communications for 25 years. 

Rachel Bowen Pittman, Kogod/BSBA ’94, was promoted to executive director of the United Nations Association, a 20,000-member organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and work of the UN and its agencies. 

Maureen Timpa, SOC/MA ’96, received two 2019 Emmy nominations for her work as an executive producer on the FX Networks series Pose: Identity, Family, Community and Fosse/Verdon: Inside Look.

Lizzie Gelernter Westin, Kogod/BSBA ’97, and Kristen Serafin, Kogod/BSBA ’10, copresented “Ushering in the Age of Machine Learning” at Enterprise Data World 2019. They provided insight on how machine learning is being implemented at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help solve problems in innovative ways. Westin is a lead data analyst in FINRA’s enterprise data platform department, and Serafin is an associate director in FINRA’s market regulation technology department. 

Tom Palermo, SPA/BA ’98, was appointed as a judge in Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court by Governor Ron DeSantis. Palermo has served for the last 12 years as a federal prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. 

Deborah Shapiro, CAS/BA ’98, CAS/MS ’01, was promoted to partner and senior vice president of AKRF, Inc., an environmental consulting firm headquartered in New York City.


Rachel Locker Kaufman, Kogod/BSBA ’00, and her husband, Karl, welcomed their first child, Max, on July 30.

Elizabeth Gritter, SPA/BA ’01, was awarded tenure and promotion at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. She is associate professor of history.

Holly MillerShank, SIS/BA ’01, received the 2019 Moss Award from Lancaster Theological Seminary for distinguished service in the field of specialized ministry. She served as minister and team leader of ministerial excellence, support, and authorization in the United Church of Christ national offices.

Seth Strongin, CAS/BA ’01, is an associate and senior sustainability consultant for Arup. He is working with the mayor’s office to develop a carbon neutral climate action plan for Los Angeles. Since 2012, Strongin has served on the national advisory council for the City Project, an LA-based nonprofit that works to increase access to healthy, livable communities. 

Ken Biberaj, SPA/BA ’02, wrote an op-ed in the Commercial Observer. He serves on the board of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Democratic Business Council for Northern Virginia. Biberaj also advises the National Campus Leadership Council.

Anthony Vacanti, SPA/BA ’02, joined Tucker Ellis LLP.

Christopher Wallett, SIS/BA ’08, CAS/MA ’12, and Leeann Wallett, CAS/BA ’10, welcomed their first child, Henry Christopher Wallett, on July 30, 2019. The couple met while captaining the AU Ultimate Frisbee teams.


Gary Norman, WCL/LLM ’11, chair of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, participated in the Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellows Program, sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Law and the Maryland judiciary.

Emma Waldman, SOC/BA ’13, was named an editor at Harvard Business Review. 

Christine Brugh, SPA/BA ’14, received her PhD in psychology from North Carolina State University. She will continue her training at NC State as a postdoctoral research scholar.

In Memoriam


Rob Roy Ratliff, SPA/BSA ’48, SPA/SPA/BA MA ’49, SPA/SPA/PhD ’53, July 1, 2019, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Shirley Newbaker McCracken, CAS/BA ’50, April, 16, 2019, Newton, New Jersey

Melvin Leon Spann, CAS/MS ’70, CAS/PhD ’79, May 7, 2019, Silver Spring, Maryland

Michael Mazzoni, WCL/JD ’72, August, 15, 2019, Cape May, New Jersey

Mildred Virginia Nuechterlein, CAS/BA ’75, April 9, 2019, Charlottesville, Virginia

James Blanchard, SPA/BA ’91, May 29, y, 2019, Baltimore, Maryland


Edward “Ned” Boehm, Jr., June 23, 2019, Richmond, Virginia

Lincoln “Linc” Furber, July 16, 2019, Southport Island, Maine

G. Matthew Bonham, August 14, 2019, Syracuse, New York