Ben (Gordon) Benoit is approaching his 78th birthday. He attributes his accomplishments, summarized below, to his education at UMass and the then-new Hampshire College. He also had classes at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith.
50 Years in 9 Lines
Graduated class 1961 June 6th
June 7th North Shore Music Theater
US Army Signal Corp as a film director
Freelance film director NYC & LA
Producing director California Repertory Theater
Designer & builder of custom wine cellars (23 years)
Retired to Mexico 2015; opened B&B and winery
Jack Polidoro ’68G, ’72PhD is retired after 45 years in pharma/biotech. Every year Polidoro, of Gilmanton, New Hampshire, and Gilbert “Chip” Carnathan ’79G, ’82PhD of Hillsborough, North Carolina, return to Amherst to visit their former animal sciences professor, Donald Black, who turned 90 this year. Polidoro writes: “Dr. Black is a fascinating human being who as an adviser to many students and department head/professor influenced all our careers, with some students going on to vet school and to prominent research positions.”
Marie (Roberts) Hartwell-Walker ’68 and Frederic Hartwell ’74 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August. The couple has many UMass connections: Marie’s grandfather was a pomology professor, and she was an instructor in psychology. Marie and Frederic met at Webster Hall in Orchard Hill (as did their daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Brendan Foley ’02) and settled in Amherst. Their daughter Emily ’11 married Andrew Gaylord ’08.
Mel Yoken, Chancellor Professor Emeritus of French Language and Literature at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has been awarded the French Legion of Honor by a decree from Emmanuel Macron, president of France. The Legion of Honor acknowledges services rendered to France by persons of exceptional merit.
James Ulwick has been recognized for legal excellence and client service by the 2018 Chambers USA legal ranking guide. He is an attorney with Kramon & Graham in Baltimore, Maryland.
Lynne F. Riley, a partner in Boston-based Casner & Edwards’ bankruptcy and restructuring group, was selected for inclusion in the 2018 Chambers & Partners USA Guide - America’s Leading Business Lawyers.
Lenore (Baxter) Difiore received the Excellence in Teaching award from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, where she is assistant professor of biology.
Gerald DeSimas Jr., who has been covering sports for more than 35 years, became the first sports journalist from Connecticut to be inducted in the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. DeSimas has won more than a dozen writing awards from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the New England Press Association, and United Press International. Robert Hochschild has launched The Media Narrative, a podcast featuring interviews with authors, journalists, musicians, artists, and others. He is an associate professor of liberal arts at Berklee College of Music, where he has worked since 1992.
Meaghan (Quigley) LeClerc was recently promoted to brigadier general of the Massachusetts National Guard. Her sister Susan Quigley Blodgett ’87 and UMass friends Gayle Hansen Schumacher ’90, Leslie Perre Oross ’88, Heather Hartman Howard ’89, and Anne Vivaldi Sheehan ’89 attended her swearing in at Hanscom Air Force Base. John J. Morrissey became president-elect of the Massachusetts Bar Association on September 1. Morrissey is a founding partner of Morrissey, Wilson & Zafiropoulos LLP in Braintree, Massachusetts. An accomplished trial lawyer, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer every year since 2005. James Spink has received Mental Health News Education’s 2018 Leadership Award. He has worked for Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health management company, for 21 years.
Jeffrey Seyler has been named chief division officer for the eastern division of the American Lung Association, composed of 25 states. Seyler has worked for the association for 25 years. He lives in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, with his wife, Abney, and their children, Charly and Cally.
Jake Sullivan is the new vice president of government and community affairs at Boston University. Prior to joining BU two years ago, Sullivan worked for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and for his predecessor, the late Thomas M. Menino.
Andrew Helman has joined the Portland, Maine, law firm Murray Plumb & Murray. He lives in Freeport, Maine.
Brian Mirasolo, a field services administrator with the Massachusetts Probation Service, won the 2018 George M. Keiser Award for Exceptional Leadership, presented by the National Association of Probation Executives to a corrections professional who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities.
Virginia (Spiess) McGarrity was elected a 2018 Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program. She is a partner at Robinson & Cole in Hartford.
Kathleen (Murphy) Dion was recognized as a 2018 “40 Under 40” winner by BusinessWest. She works in the Hartford, Connecticut, office of Robinson & Cole, where she focuses on all aspects of civil and criminal litigation.
Robert Shepherd was recently promoted to manager at Durbin Bennett Tax Advisors in Austin, Texas. He focuses on complex areas of taxation, including estate planning, oil and gas, non-profit organizations, and international tax.
Corey Colbert was named a 2018 “30 under 30” exceptional young professional by the Institute of Real Estate Management. The award honors the next generation of industry leaders who have made significant impacts in their career and community. As a student, Colbert was active in promoting the permaculture initiative.
Gabriela Rossi ’13 and Robert Perrault ’13 were married in May 2018.