Alumni News & Notes


The Class of 1960 cordially invites its members, as well as members of the surrounding classes (1957-1963), to join in our celebration of our 55th reunion, Oct. 9-11, 2015. The highlight will be a luncheon at Milne Hall on the beloved downtown campus.

The luncheon is scheduled for 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Many other activities will be held during the weekend; they will be described in a forthcoming brochure. The mailing will also provide registration forms for the various activities.

Highlights include the welcome wine tasting on Friday evening, the Half-Century Club breakfast on Saturday morning, a sorority and fraternity coffee hour, the Great Dane Pre-Game and football game, and uptown and downtown campus tours.

Plan now to “go down memory lane” with friends as you recall a very special time and place.

Class Notes Councilor: Doris Hische Brossy,


A note from your class councilor: Thanks to all who responded to this issue’s call for class notes and for your 55th Reunion idea. Thanks to a call for class notes from Mel Horowitz, Brad Mundy and Jan Goodermote Newport discovered they are third cousins.

Retired from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in New York, Donna Steele Parks enjoys spending time with her family (including five children and 10 grandchildren) and has also taken on a new quilting hobby. She and her husband enjoy traveling to see family members. Donna wishes good luck and good health to all of the Red Devils.

Elaine Romatowski Frankonis crossed off the only item on her bucket list as her poetry chapbook, What the Seasons Leave, was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Two of her poems and one non-fiction piece will be appearing in the winter solstice issue of Mused, the BellaOne Literary Review. Elaine lives with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson in East Longmeadow, Mass., where she facilitates a twice-monthly afternoon writing circle at the Longmeadow Library. She continues to blog at Kalily Time.

Joan Ferrari Herman and husband Carl spent two months on the East Coast. While there, they visited with Edward Broomfield ’63 and Sharon Parr Broomfield ’63.

Shelly Hoch and Mel Horowitz represented the Class of ’61 at the 100th Chi Sigma Theta anniversary luncheon at Jack’s Oyster House in downtown Albany. LaRae Atwood Groves and husband Gene continue to enjoy their condo in Scottsdale, Ariz. She misses New York but loves it in Arizona.

Joan Heywood Valesente looks forward to traveling and working with friends from Germany, as her husband Bob will coach the defense for the French National team. They will compete for the European championship in football in Stockholm in Summer 2015.

Bob Congemi continues to write books of fiction. The Penny Garden, Les Yeux, and The First Day of the World are his most recent works. He continues to do public readings and is in his 53rd year of full-time teaching (47 years as a SUNY professor).

Harold Jewell was recently named a finalist in the Circus Road Screenplay Contest with his thriller script I Dreamt You Kissed Me. All is well with Nancy Rubin Bernstein and family in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She and her husband, Sanford, enjoy taking adult- learning classes at Marist College. Nancy enjoys embroidery and quilting, reading, going to Long Beach Island in the summer and Siesta Key in Florida in the winter.

College best friends Carol Bastian of Camden, N.Y.,Barbara Smith Passino of Savannah, Ga., and Marge Kropec Paul of Long Beach, Calif., reunited in California for a week of fun and catching up. “It is true what they say, true friends can meet after a long period of time and pick up right where they left off, even after 50 years.”

Mel Horowitz was recently re-elected Eastern Region president of the USCPFA (US-China Peoples Friendship Association). She helped create an exchange program for Capital Region high school students to go to China this past summer, and received a lifetime achievement award from The Academy for Character Education, The Sage Colleges. She enjoys travel and recently returned from a five-week trip to Ireland with her family and friends.

In this installment of class notes, we also heard from Pete Spina, Fran Marshall, Anne Marie (Sunny) Sunstrand Mullen and Tom Bleezarde.

Class Notes Councilor: Mel Horowitz,


Jean Brody Somlo of DeWitt, N.Y., retired from teaching art in Syracuse schools. She now enjoys teaching senior artists in the Syracuse OASIS Education Center and exhibits her own artwork in shows. Sheril McCormack, Susan Blank, and Linda Bosworth enjoyed a mini-reunion in Key West, Fla. Pat and Hank Maus and Bill and Nan Vogt Jessberger enjoyed sunny weather in Green Valley, Ariz., where they wintered for the sixth year.

Class notes councilor: J. Sheril McCormack,


A note from your class councilor: Due to the success of our 50-year reunion, many alums were left out in the Fall 2014 UAlbany Magazine. Since the sisters of Psi Gamma were pivotal to the celebration, the complete list includes spouses: Committee chairpersons Patricia Woinoski Olechna (Walter), Mary Alice Dobeck Brankman (Anthony), Mary Jane Yanko Crotty; Psi Gamma class members Mary-Ruth Butler Martel, Phyllis Cipolla Stasiowski (Gene), Barbara Gutberlet Besuyen (J. Andrew), Audrey Cramer Blackmer (Waring), Adrienne Marosek Kllc (Michael), and the ever popular Rosemary Petrick Walikis and her sister, Evelyn ’64.

Some sisters of Gamma Kappa Phi were overlooked: Janet A. Ahola (Richard), Dorothy Matthy Ossinger and daughter Joanna, Janet Wathier Havich (Richard), and still bubbly Sally VanRiper Eller. Also not listed were Patron of the Arts Lois Brown Hellman (Jack), Joan Ludwig Bergin and fellow Phi Deltas Teresa Tomaszewski and Janet Hidinger (Richard).

Some Chi Sigma Theta sisters left out of the notes: committee assistant Mary Jo O’Keefe Shellard (Fred), Dianne V. Miller (William), and Jane Quay Willey. Independents included Sharon Kahler Ritzman (Roger Ritzman ’64), Eileen Lubart (Barry), Carol Rider White (Duane), Fred Winsor (Olga), Carolyn Wood Wolz (Bill), Mona Zandi-Plummer and the ever youthful Linda Kolts. Special thanks to Coach Richard Sauers and his wife Elaine, who were our honored guests.

Fran Flores and Carol Hrvol ’66 recently moved from Indiana to Lockport, N.Y.

Start planning now for our 55th-year reunion in 2018. Hey, we’ll only be 78 years young!

Class Notes Councilor: Peter Fisher,


Robert Gibson, president of the Questar III BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York State) and former president and member of the Brittonkill Central School District Board of Education, is the 2014 winner of the Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service. His 21 years of service to the Questar III BOCES board include 13 years as board president.


A note from your class councilor: Planning for the Class of 1965 50-year reunion has begun! Reunion activities will be held during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 9-11, 2015, when you will have a chance to relive memories, “catch up” with your college friends, and become reacquainted with our alma mater. If you haven’t received an email regarding this milestone reunion, please contact Judy Koblintz Madnick ( or Ira Rubtchinsky ( so that we have your email address for future reunion communications. We’re looking forward to seeing you in October!

Class notes councilor: Judy Madnick,


Jo Anne Vacca

Jo Anne Vacca

Richard Vacca

Richard Vacca

Richard Vacca and wife Jo Anne Vacca ’68, Professors Emeriti in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, were selected to receive the 2014 Distinguished Service Award at Kent State’s 5th Annual College of Education, Health and Human Services Hall of Fame Awards. Rich and Jo Anne met as undergraduate English majors at the University at Albany.


Judith Ann Mysliborski, M.D., recently shared her collection of more than 100 kaleidoscopes at the World Awareness Children’s Museum, Glens Falls, N.Y. Her exhibition, Kaleidoscopes: Mirrored Views of the World, was extended through early 2015 due to popular demand.