Ruth Weimer Tillar shares memories of being a WT student from 1938 to 1941: Being a boarding student was a wonderful and memorable experience for me. Every day was exciting—having the opportunity to live in Miss Mitchell’s home that we fondly called “the house.” Special plans were arranged for each afternoon following classes. There were trips planned by the teachers who also lived at “the house.” The teachers were Miss Felix, Miss Bortman, and Miss Smart. We attended special events in Pittsburgh including visits to art shows, flower shops, museums, programs at Pitt and [Carnegie] Tech. Another highlight was ice skating at Duquesne Gardens. We were in fashion shows for fundraising events and participated in sports on the hockey field and in the WT gymnasium. We had dinner with Miss Mitchell each evening with celebrations for birthdays and other special events. We especially enjoyed hearing Miss Mitchell speak about Scotland. There was a two-hour study hall followed by refreshments before we went to our rooms for lights out. Marion Thompson Kerwin ’42 and I were roommates for three years and have continued to see each other. At WT we made friendships that lasted a lifetime. There were visits to each other’s homes in other cities many times, keeping up with each other while in college. We were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings and attended WT reunions throughout the years. WT and Shady Side Academy had a theater production together each year and several social events. In recent years while serving on the Alumni Board at the College of William and Mary, I met another board member who is a graduate of Shady Side Academy. When we see each other he sings the WT alma mater to me, which he learned with the Shady Side Academy Glee Club.


Elisabeth ’Betsy’ Riddle Ruderfer plans to move to Pittsburgh next year and hopes to come to Reunion then. She hopes that something dog-friendly will open up in the Oakland area. Betsy is a vocalist, actress, and an alumna of the Pittsburgh Playhouse School of the Theatre. She was once a member of the Choral Arts Society of Washington but opted for the American Song Book and the music of the Gershwin Brothers, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and Harold Arlen. Music matters, she says, because it so eloquently speaks of life and love in terms that anyone, of any generation, can understand. Her quest is to keep this music alive forever. Betsy was a vocalist for a 17 piece big band, and for nearly ten years was the regular Friday night chanteuse at a little Alexandria, Virginia bistro. She appears occasionally with the Not So Modern Jazz Quartet, a Washington, D.C. area Dixieland swing and jazz band.


Alice Gault Fuchs loved seeing her classmates at last year’s Reunion. She’s busy writing poetry and fiction, having three novels and one book of poems as Amazon e-books. She dashes between Pittsburgh and San Francisco to keep up with five grandchildren, and will soon retire from her Washington County farm and move back to the Pittsburgh area. She asks herself regularly if she will ever get up enough nerve to share her piece about one of her dearest, most colorful WT teachers, Elmira Dunlevy!


Pittsburgh Magazine named Karen Wolk Feinstein one of the 50 most powerful people in Pittsburgh. Recognized for her leadership in healthcare reform, Karen is the founding President and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and works to improve mental health care and health services through her work with the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, Health Careers Future, and Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.


Heather ’Ruth Ann’ Wishik started a new position as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for The Nature Conservancy at the end of September. The Nature Conservancy works throughout the United States and in 35 other countries to help conserve the land and waters on which all life depends. Ruth Ann writes, “I am excited to join the world’s largest conservation organization in its work to help save our planet.”


Janice ’Jan’ Coco Groft’s new book, Artichokes & City Chicken: Reflections on Faith, Grief, and My Mother’s Italian Cooking, has just been released. Part memoir, part spiritual guide, Artichokes & City Chicken is a candid and poignant encounter with unresolved grief. WT friends may find the mention of the late Mrs. Jan Widgery ’37, beloved WT English teacher, of special interest.rtichokes & City Chicken: Reflections on Faith, Grief, and My Mother’s Italian Cooking,

Tanya Palmer enjoyed time with WT friends Joy Marks Gray, Kathryn Rich Sherman, Linda McKee Larkin, and Georgia McKee Holmberg ’64 during a recent visit to Pittsburgh.


Victoria ’Vic’ Dym released her first poetry chapbook, Class Clown, published by Finishing Line Press and available on Amazon. Victoria has been cast as Dr. Alice, the psychiatrist, in an independent film that she also co-wrote, The Man With Elephant Hands, to be released in spring of 2016. Vic now resides in Tampa, Florida and plans to visit with her daughter, Sydney, in Paris to celebrate her 60th!


Kerry Walk was appointed president of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City where she is inspired to maximize on the school’s location in the city’s Upper East Side to afford students with access to learning experiences and internships. During an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kerry spoke of the inspiration she drew at WT from teachers like Mrs. Martha Cussler, Ms. Susan Browlee, now Executive Director of The Fine Foundation, Ms. Virginia Sheppard ’41 and Mrs. Mary (Cohen) Wactlar. Kerry is an educator who taught at Harvard University and Princeton University, and she held leadership roles at Princeton, Pitzer College in Los Angeles, and Otis College of Art and Design.


Alunda Grzybek Edmonds completed her second Mario Lemieux Foundation’s 6.6K Run and Family Walk. It was replete, she writes, with “two bridges, one tunnel, and a high-five from Mario at the start and the finish!”


Angela Hertz co-founded a nonprofit Italian language school and cultural association, La Scuola d’Italia Galileo Galilei, which she runs with her husband Marco Marzulli, and colleague Derek Illar. In addition to language classes, the school hosts Italian film nights at WT.

Sarah McLaughlin Lee and her family have been living in Geneva, Switzerland for a year and a half. Sarah enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to two year old daughter Julia. She also loves taking advantage of the hiking and chocolate Switzerland has to offer. In July, Sarah and her family enjoyed a holiday in Sardinia, Italy.


Casey McDaniel participated in the commemoration of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery where she photographed the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. She also captured the family of civil rights activist Reverend Joseph Lowery. One of her photographs will be used to create a bust memorializing the historic event. Casey is the founder and owner of Caselove Productions, a media production company based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Meridith Deluzio Pettigrew started a new chapter as Dean of Students of Rutherford Academy. She writes that she has been proud to be a part of new and amazing things at the Center for Autism at The King’s Daughters’ School.


Sarah Gross Fife is reaching the mid-point of her studies through the Kohenet Institute, working toward ordination as a Hebrew Priestess. Through her experience as an emerging Kohenet, she has taken a new name, KeShira haLev, which means “song connected to the heart.” KeShira has been busy! She recently became an Australian Civil Celebrant and is enjoying officiating ceremonies and rituals including weddings, vow renewals, baby namings, and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (both in Australia and in the United States). She continues to build and guide Kesher (the Hebrew word for “connection”) communities in Sydney (and sometimes Pittsburgh too) which are Jewish in origin but seek to welcome people from all walks of life into post-denominational, non-institutional, reflective, and joyful prayer gatherings.

KeShira and her husband, Tim, have had much to celebrate. In the past two months, they have become Australian citizens and celebrated 11 years of marriage! KeShira and Tim are beginning to plan for their sabbatical which will take place in the second half of 2016 when they hope to be in Pittsburgh for the Class of 1996’s 20th reunion. She hopes to see you there!


An original show written by Ben Sota is being performed every weekend for a year at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. His play is the first ever performed at the museum, a national Canadian museum. Ben is proud of the unexpected honor. Ben teaches in the Physical Theater Department at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


Jason Shavers is helping to establish a Gene Kelly Awards Alumni Association being formed for networking, performance opportunities, and raising funds for scholarship awards. Members of the group will join recent nominees and awardees in Gene Kelly Award performances.


Alexander ’Alec’ Karakatsanis is continuing to fight the unjust imprisonment of poor and vulnerable United States citizens, recently winning two major federal constitutional lawsuits. Equal Justice Under Law, the nonprofit law center that Alec co-founded, settled the suits in Missouri and Louisiana working with ArchCity Defenders in Missouri and the MacArthur Justice Center in Louisiana. The suits resulted in officials changing practices in their jurisdiction to end jailing people after misdemeanor arrests simply because they cannot afford to pay bail.


James Eversmeyer entered medical school at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine this past fall, after years of working in nursing.

Elizabeth ’Lizzy’ Seguin moved to Los Angeles more than a year ago and lives in Venice Beach. She is working as a freelance wardrobe stylist. She worked on two Taylor Swift music videos this summer, Bad Blood and Wildest Dream. The hours are long but she’s met all sorts of big name celebrities and is having a great time getting into the California lifestyle.

Ian Sullivan is happy to be back in Pittsburgh, pursuing an M.B.A. at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. Ian completed his first marathon this summer in San Francisco, and is looking forward to the Pittsburgh race calendar.


While in Washington, D.C. our eighth graders and faculty chaperones who were visiting the nation’s capital on their annual trip were treated to a musical performance by La-Ti-Do the weekly spoken word and musical theatre series co-produced by Don Michael Mendoza.


Michael McCarthy performed as a guest soloist with the All University Orchestra of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Michael is a second year violin fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida.


Jimyse Brown is studying at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom where she will continue to play basketball.


Allison ’Alli’ Kunkle and Adam Eller celebrated their third graduation together! WT’s Middle School in 2007, Upper School in 2011, and now Franklin and Marshall Class of 2015.

Ripe, the seven piece funk band managed by Maxwell Stofman, released its latest video Downward taped live at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Ripe was recently featured on Radio 92.9 as the Jam of the Week.


Natalie Adams is spending her fall semester in Washington, D.C. where she is interning in Senator Bob Casey’s office. In January she’ll return to the chilly tundra of upstate New York to continue her study of Comparative Literature at Hamilton College.

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In Memoriam

Thistle LogoThe following members of the WT community will be missed by their classmates, friends, students, and colleagues. We offer sincere condolences to their families.

Margaret Niedringhaus Palmer ’32
Jane Blattner Kreimer ’40
Shirley Seubert Chewning ’43
Barbara Weinberg Rackoff ’43
Rachel Heppenstall Shingler ’43
Stephanie Frank Mallinger ’49
Mary McNaugher Marsh ’51
Patricia Smallwood Aiello ’54
Heather Cuckler ’69
Laura Mercer ’70
Susan Price-Livingston ’73
David S. Ketchum, former trustee