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Class Notes, extended version - December 2020

Class notes December 2020

Regina Montoya received the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession (see details and Regina’s bio at She is currently writing a book about the importance of incorporating Latinos into the economic, political and social fabric of America, and is a frequent public speaker on a wide range of issues including healthcare, poverty, diversity and children. Kudos to Regina!

Susy Whitcomb has moved to Brevard, NC after 38 years in CT. She spent a glorious 9 months as an international house sitter before the pandemic locked her down. Hiking in the mountains gives her hours of sunshine and freedom, and she remains very actively involved with Haitian Educational Initiatives, a non-profit operating in Jacmel, Haiti.

Susy Zooms regularly with classmates Mary Cushman Escherich (Bronxville, NY), Martha Ruddy (Minneapolis), Abigail Franklin (NYC), and Martha Parry Clark (Lafayette, CA). Mary continues to write and coordinate her ever-growing family. Martha Ruddy just retired from Capella University as a research librarian. Abby's second hip replacement hasn't slowed her work as Warden of her church in NYC; and Martha Parry Clark continues at the American Diabetes Association as Treasurer.

In September 2020 Joan Wallace-Benjamin published Leading a Life in Balance: Principles of Leadership from the Executive Suite to the Family Table, a leadership memoir consisting of stories and lessons learned over her 37-year career. The book can be purchased at Joan also just had her first grandchild on November 8: a baby girl, Wellesley class of 2043!

We mourn the loss of Susan Ware in August (see Memorials), and Julie Crofoot Simons in October (see

Betsy Barr writes: “Pandemic life isn’t that different from retirement, except for the fear of death and much more limited entertainment options. My daughter, Lila Durnan ’05, is an RN at a hospital, so we didn’t see her for several months, except to pass things through the door while wearing masks, but now she is in our bubble. Our son Harry is outside Houston, current COVID hotspot, but safe so far. I have been sewing cloth masks in various designs from instructional videos, for myself, family, and friends. I was lucky to have a sewing machine (that had not seen service in decades), some piles of fabric I couldn’t even remember why I bought years ago, and a scrap bag of interesting cloth. Masks have become the new de rigueur fashion accessory (as well as a matter of life or death)!  Aside from that, have enjoyed rooting for the Boston Celtics, and  (very) successfully growing cucumbers in a big pot in the front yard – only to realize I’m probably allergic to cucumbers! So now I’ve been stalking my neighbors, giving them away. The Black Lives Matters and the murders that inspired the protests have opened my eyes. I hope our country can make a new beginning and end this era of hate and divisiveness.”

Pier Rogers writes: “2020 has been challenging for most. I’ve had my share. My 95-year-old mother passed away in May, which was hard in the midst of the covid19 pandemic. But I did get to see her for a bit towards the end, which was a blessing. I had hoped that she would live long enough to know that I’d been safely installed as the governing board President of ARNOVA, the international nonprofit research association to which I’ve belonged for the majority of my career in the nonprofit sector. She didn’t make it to November 2020, which is when I assumed that role with ARNOVA. I did recognize her, though, as she’d been a staunch supporter of mine, and even attended an ARNOVA conference to hear me present back in the late 1990s. She was proud, and knew I was taking on that role as the first African American woman to do so. In addition, since I consider myself a “pracademic”, I am a first in that category as well, since previous presidents have been academic researchers in the nonprofit sector. Since I bring that perspective, I hope that I will be able to join research and practice in new ways for ARNOVA. Perhaps if there are Wellesley sibs out there who are involved in the nonprofit/social/philanthropic sector, you can reach out to me and join in doing some brainstorming about ways to connect researchers with practitioners in new ways in our field.”