Above: Deer grazing on campus. Photo by Stephen Louis Marino

Cowell College

’81 Sherril WELLS’s husband, Command Master Chief Rodney Wells (USN, Ret.), died suddenly in December between two 12-hour shifts as a boiler plant operator for the Fresno VA Hospital. Sherril will continue their nonprofit farm Rancho De Rodney, which grows organic produce for distribution through Catholic Worker.

’88 Carolyn EASTMAN’s The Strange Genius of Dr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity was published on March 1 by Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and UNC Press. The book is a fascinating biography of James Ogilvie, the earliest and most significant American celebrity you’ve never heard of, as well as an illuminating story of the United States during the founding era.

’99 Naz BEHESHTI is CEO of Prananaz, a corporate wellness company, and an executive wellness coach. She also writes for Forbes, with over 100 published articles on mindful leadership and corporate wellness. Her leadership well-being book, Pause. Breathe. Choose.: Become the CEO of Your Well-Being, was published in February.

’02 Nicholas ILACQUA currently lives in Sacramento. He has worked at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine since 2015. Originally a lead in migrating their proprietary Hospital Information System to a modern programming language, he is now the development manager and software architect for the group.

’04 Benjamin R. FLIEGEL has been promoted to partner at Reed Smith LLP in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He was previously counsel. Fliegel is a commercial litigator who combines substantive courtroom experience with traditional game theory concepts to achieve clients’ goals.

Stevenson College

’71 Brant CORTRIGHT is professor emeritus with the California Institute of Integral Studies, clinical psychologist in practice in San Francisco, and author of Holistic Healing for Anxiety, Depression, and Cognitive Decline, which was #1 Amazon New Release in Psychiatry as well as #1 Bestseller in Holistic Medicine.

’92 Aaron SEGAL is celebrating 25 years as the mayor of Paramount Pictures.

Merrill College

’91 Carl ZIMRING and Cornell historian Sara B. Pritchard’s book, Technology and the Environment in History, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Aimed at students and scholars new to environmental history, the history of technology, and their nexus, this book looks outward and forward—identifying promising areas in more formative stages of intellectual development and current synergies with related areas that have emerged in the past few years, including environmental anthropology, discard studies, and posthumanism.

Kresge College

’74 Katherine ROBERTS spent 30 years at the New York Times, where she was one of the few female editors to lead three news sections (Op-Ed, National, Sunday Review). She left in 2012 to join Bloomberg Opinion. She’s still on the job.

Porter College

’75 Michelle BEHR, chancellor of the University of Minnesota Morris, plans to retire as chancellor at the end of the academic year. During her tenure, Chancellor Behr led the Morris campus through a strategic visioning and planning process, reaffirmation of accreditation, and record-breaking years of private giving.

’82 Atesh SONNEBORN retired in 2018 after working from 1998 as assistant then associate director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the U.S. national museum’s nonprofit record label.

’93 Jana LARSON published her nonfiction book Reel Bay: A Cinematic Essay with Coffee House Press.

’02 Steven LECKART’s career highlights from 2020 include:

Creating, producing, and co-directing a four-part documentary called Challenger: The Final Flight about the 1986 space shuttle. The series premiered on Netflix in September 2020, and was executive produced by Bad Robot.

A longform nonfiction magazine story he wrote called “The Bicycle Thief,” about a former Olympic hopeful turned serial bank robber, was selected for the 2020 edition of Best American Sports Writing.

A two-part documentary he wrote for HBO called What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali won the Emmy for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary.

’09 Marnie BAIRD, CFP(R), recently became an owner of her financial planning firm, Wealth Quest Partners, Inc., located in San Diego.

Crown College

’83 Daryl ALTERWITZ has joined the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada. He is currently an attorney in Las Vegas at Alterwitz Katz LLP. The Junior Achievement board of directors is responsible for providing executive counsel and fund development, as well as supporting JA’s in-school programs, which focus on entrepreneurship, personal financial literacy, and workforce readiness using experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and fulfill their true potential.

Oakes College

’89 Sarah HILL has been appointed as the inaugural Associate Professor of Popular Music and Fellow of St. Peter’s College, Oxford.

Rachel Carson College

’92 Gabriela SOSA is an Emmy Award–winning and Oscar-nominated actress. She was theatrically trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, after which she taught acting at the Lee Strasburg Studio in Los Angeles. She is also a Shakespearean alum from the LA Independent Shakespeare Company and the Knightsbridge Theatre. Every spring you can find her vociferating monologues as part of Street Corner Shakespeare at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire while avoiding turkey legs. Once COVID has a vaccine, she hopes to return to UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz area, where performers and audience members travel back in time among the trees for top-notch 16th century theater. Sosa is delighted to have found other Shakespearean lovers in her newfound part of earthly paradise, San Diego, as part of San Diego Shakespeare Society and the San Diego Museum of Art and Balboa Park.

Graduate Studies

’04 Noah TAMARKIN’s book, Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa, was published by Duke University Press. Tamarkin is assistant professor of anthropology and science and technology studies at Cornell University and research associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. In this new title, Tamarkin illustrates how Lemba people in South Africa give their own meanings to the results of DNA tests that substantiated their ancestral connections to Jews and employ them to manage competing claims of Jewish ethnic and religious identity, African indigeneity, and South African citizenship.

In Memoriam

’67 Norman CLARK (Cowell), a life-long resident of Santa Cruz County and a pioneer alumnus, passed away peacefully on Christmas evening at his Scotts Valley home. His wife of 47 years, Sue Clark, was by his side. He turned 75 on December 23. Clark received his B.A. in history from UC Santa Cruz in 1967 at its first graduation. After graduating, he was employed as a social worker for the Monterey County Welfare Department, then turned to teaching, which would become a lifelong endeavor. For many years he taught at Redwood Glen’s Outdoor Education Science Camp, and during several summers, he worked at Big Basin State Park as an interpretive ranger. After retiring from the education system, he worked with the county’s Probation Department Evening School. He also worked as a tutor for elementary and high school students in later years.

’71 Laura Ellen BAIR (Crown) died in her home December 5, 2020, after a short and fearless bout with pancreatic cancer. She studied psychology at UCSC, and after graduation, she settled in Vancouver (by way of Vermont), where she lived for eight years. She returned to the United States to live with Paul Sherrill, her husband of 40 years, in Santa Cruz. Throughout her life she lent her skills to many humanitarian organizations, including as an accountant for various nonprofits, ultimately Dominican Hospital. An accountant and a spiritual director, a Catholic and a Buddhist, Bair was a unique combination of qualities that surprised even those who knew her well.

’86 Diana DURE-BIONDI (Kresge), longtime Santa Cruz resident, world traveler, enthusiast of nature, teacher of love and compassion, died November 4, 2020, leaving behind her battle with Alzheimer’s. After studying marine biology at UC Santa Barbara, Dure-Biondi received a Certificate in French Language at the Sorbonne University. After traveling, Dure-Biondi taught advanced reading and writing and cross-cultural communication to foreign students at San Francisco State University while pursuing and achieving an M.A. in English in 1992. She then went to Japan, teaching at the Kanda University of International Studies in Tokyo, and had daughter Isabella Dure-Biondi. She received an M.A. in counseling psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 2002, and she worked at the Parent Center, counseling families and child welfare cases. In addition, she opened her own private counseling practice.

’06 Mischa Noel REVOTSKIE (Porter) of Santa Cruz passed away on Nov 19, 2020, at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. For the last decade he worked at Trader Joe’s in Santa Cruz and could be found behind the register with a yellow daisy behind his ear held in place by his huge, curly afro. He was a lover of people, music, reading, and words. Revotskie also became an accomplished disc golfer, competing in professional tournaments for many years. In addition to crosswords, poetry, and disc golf, he loved children, animals, cooking, and nature.

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