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Frederick Filios celebrated his 100th birthday at the Newman Center on October 28, 2018. He is a retired UMass employee, having worked as a steam engineer at the UMass Power Plant, retiring in 1989. At the party, Filios received the town of Amherst’s gold-headed cane, given to the town’s oldest living resident. Among the UMass alumni at the celebration were five of Filios’s children, Kathryn Filios Finn ’00, Paul Filios ’79, Teresa Filios Korpita ’83G, William Filios (attended ’79-’83), Elizabeth Filios Tyler ’88G, and his grandson John Tyler ’16.

1965, 1966 

Joe Piecuch ’65 and Michele Potvin-Piecuch ’66 recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In November, Michele was re-elected registrar of voters in their hometown of Simsbury, Connecticut. Joe continues his role as professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Connecticut Health Center. 

1968, 1970

Judy (Chapin) Rivard ’68 and Bob Rivard ’70 marked their 50th wedding anniversary in 2018! Judy writes, “How blessed Bob and I feel to be together and able to enjoy our three wonderful grandchildren in Arlington, Massachusetts, and San Diego! Thank you to UMass for introducing us on the stage of Bowker so many years ago!” 


Ned Daly followed the release of his first two films with a third short, Abang Aku (2018). This live-action tale was shot on location in Massachusetts and has been made an official selection in film festivals from Mexico to Indonesia to Cameroon. 

1976, 1980G

Kenneth Machado writes: I received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the School of Education. In 1974, after the Vietnam War ended, I worked in the Veteran’s Office at UMass Amherst as a veteran’s counselor. In 1975, I transferred to help implement the undergraduate program in human services and taught the introductory course for all pre-ed majors. In 1976, I joined with Dr. Gene Orro in directing the doctoral program in mental health administration. The focus was on developing the already-in-place closing of the Massachusetts State Hospitals. I received my master’s degree in 1980, and 38 years later I’m still very much involved in improving the quality of life and reducing violence for our children and their families. 


Michael Zyda, of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, has been selected to become an IEEE Fellow. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow committee recommends a select group of recipients. Less than 0.1% of voting members are chosen annually for this honor. 


Alan Humason recently earned his PhD in chemistry at Southern Methodist University, studying multi-reference systems in quantum computational chemistry. He wishes to thank his wife, Melissa McNamara Humason, his children, Alana Rose and Aidan Bartholomew, and his 2,000 students at Southern Methodist University for their patience, support, and love. 


Jackson Katz, a global leader on issues of masculinities, violence, and men’s response to feminism, spoke on campus in October as the Eleanor Bateman Alumni Scholar in Residence. Katz, the first man to graduate from UMass Amherst with a minor in women’s studies, is an author, creator of the award-winning Tough Guise documentary series, and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program.


Darryl Hubbard was recently promoted to national accounts executive, reference labs and plasma market for Greiner Bio-One. Following a successful career in supply chain/operations, he moved into a key accounts sales role in 2016. Hubbard credits UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management Professor Robert McGarrah with fueling his interest in operations.


Felice Apolinsky was the recipient of Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee’s Nancy Saturn Award of Inspiration.  A licensed social worker and cancer survivor, Apolinsky has been a stalwart champion of Gilda’s Club and its mission of providing support, education, and hope to all impacted by cancer. She held the position of program director of the organization for over 20 years. 


David Sharin is indeed happy about the birth of his daughter, Julia Raye. However, she was born in 2008, not 2018 as announced in the fall 2018 issue of UMass magazine. The editors regret inadvertently publishing a 10-year-old Class Note!


Martha Ackmann is proud to report that a play based on her book, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, The First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, will be opening Off-Broadway in June and will run through the summer. The play stars Uzo Aduba from Orange is the New Black.


Jennifer Conrad recently joined the law firm of Seder & Chandler, LLP, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Conrad practices in the firm’s business litigation, banking and finance, and creditors’ rights and bankruptcy groups. Prior to joining Seder & Chandler, Conrad was associated for 13 years with a small general practice law firm in Milford, Massachusetts.


Nancy Gifford won the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers State Educator of the Year award. Gifford teaches at Monomoy Regional Middle School in Chatham, Massachusetts. She began teaching in the district in 2008 after 16 years with the Mashpee Public Schools.


Eric. B. Luftig, vice president and head of marketing at Victaulic, in Easton, Pennsylvania, received the 2018 Spirit of Volunteerism Award from the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. Victaulic is a global engineering construction company. Luftig and his company were recognized for their support of Valley Youth House, which provides a home for vulnerable, abused, and homeless youth.


Jason Czernich, a licensed clinical social worker with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, received a 2018 DCF Commissioner’s Award for work on a critical incident. Czernich also received a 2018 Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance.


Thomas J. “TJ” Howell received the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level from the International Society for Classical Studies. Howell joins fellow UMass MAT alumni Sean Smith ’85G, Sally (Murphy) Hatcher ’95G, and Ellen Sassenberg ’99G as winners of this prestigious award. Currently at Northampton (Massachusetts) High School, Howell has taught Latin at the secondary level since 2000. 


Julia Becker Collins was recently named chief operating officer of Vision Advertising, a Westborough, Massachusetts, company specializing in internet-based marketing. She joined Vision Advertising in 2016. Becker Collins is also the founding president (emeritus) of the MetroWest Women’s Network. 


Askarbek Mambetaliev writes, “I attended CIE-UMass during 2002–2004. I am an alumnus from the Kyrgyz Republic, Eurasia. I revisited UMass when I returned to the U.S. as a visiting scholar at New York University during 2008–2010. Currently, I am studying the impact of language policy on minorities at the Multilingualism Doctoral School at the University of Pannonia, Hungary. I miss a lot the UMass campus with its golden fall and green spring.” 


Kassia (Mercier) Spanos and Andrew Spanos welcomed their second daughter, Ava Phillipa Spanos, on November 8, 2018. Uncle Jake Mercier ’18 and sister Kate Spanos (future class of ’37) are excited to have another future UMasser join the crew! 


Russell D.H. Stott, principal of Andover Landscape Design and Construction and senior manager of campus design, sustainability, and grounds at Phillips Academy, was named a 2018 “50 Under 40” winner by New England Home magazine.


Robin Wheeler ’11 met Aaron Mailhot ’11, ’12G first semester freshman year. Their first date was 11/11/07. They dated all through college and continued dating long distance when Robin was at Purdue getting her master’s in chemical engineering. They got engaged on 11/11/14. They were married on the tenth anniversary of their first date, 11/11/17.


Tenzin Dawa Thargay, the 2018 student commencement speaker, has been awarded a 2019 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship. The fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Fellowships are awarded in a highly competitive nationwide contest. Thargay is the first student from UMass Amherst to win a Rangel fellowship.