Updates from Alumni

This new section allows you to submit posts to Cornellians. Whether you've started a job, met up with fellow Big Red grads, or have other news to share, you can create a post by filling out the form here. All posts are subject to a brief review process; for posting guidelines, please see our FAQ. (Please note that in the search field, the drop-down menu only includes years for which there are existing posts.)

Jennifer Barber Joyce ’93

I met up with Tri-Delta sisters from the 1990s in Alexandria, VA, in October 2021. It was so great to see Cristina Moeder Shaul ’91, Ariane Schreiber Horn ’91, JD ’96, Christine Bleyle Frank ’93, Melissa Turner Booth ’93, Lara Thornton Tabola ’93, Kimberly Martin-Epstein ’91, Corinne McKamey ’92, Jocelyn Spielman Turkel ’93, Mary Shelley ’96, Kristi Covert Tsiopanas ’94, ME ’95, Amy Lawrence Flueck ’91, Liz Baum Schnelzer ’91, Eileen McPeake ’90, Katherine Stifel ’87, Jill Fields ’88, and Lisa Stuart ’89.

Leonard Lehrman, MFA ’75, DMA ’77

On October 19 & 21, I will be presenting a virtual, two-part Retrospective Preview of the opera SACCO AND VANZETTI, begun by Marc Blitzstein and completed by me. (Work on it began while I was still at Cornell.) The opera was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and optioned by the Met in 1959. Blitzstein called it his magnum opus, but left it incomplete at his death in 1964. It was premiered, concertante, with piano, at the White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT, in August 2001, just weeks before 9/11. It has been an uphill battle since then; four times, premieres have been cancelled or postponed—in Italy, at UCLA, and at Hofstra. At this free Zoom event, we will be showing the 2001 video and interviewing cast members, past, present, and future, planning for an orchestral premiere some time by 2027. You can learn more about the event here. ljlehrman@nassaulibrary.org

Geoffrey Hewitt, MPS ’79

I am retired now and living in Raleigh, NC. I have twin sons, age 33, Eric and Brent. Brent is finishing his last year as a Daytime Duke MBA student and Eric works for EA (Electronic Arts), where he has developed a video game called Apex Legends, which will bring in $1 billon in revenue this year after only 3 years.

Jay Drezner ’93

We’re moving the family back to Australia after a great four years in Colorado. Our children, Nathan (14) and Alexandra (12), will be going to high school in Sydney. My last job was as a fractional CFO for small, growing companies which I loved and now it’s time to take a breather and spend more time with the family.

Richardson Handjaja ’09

Richardson recently married Eri Isomura, a freelance musician and graduate of St. Olaf College and The Boston Conservatory, and changed his last name from Kilis to Handjaja. The wedding was held in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, during the summer. In attendance were Richardson’s friends from the Cornell Asian Pacific Student Union (Junchi “John” Dong ’09; Nathan Chun ’09; Siyeon Andrew Seong ’10, MEng ’11; Risa Naka ’11, MEng ’13; Jason Xu ’11; and Xiao Wang, PhD ’12) and Chinese Bible Study (Wenqian “Ronny” Huang ’09; Calinda Yew Huang ’08; and Yanan Henry Wen ’09, PhD ’15). The couple now lives in Minneapolis, where Richardson works as a senior systems administrator at Prime Therapeutics.

Michelle J. Vaeth ’98

Michelle returned to Ithaca in 2018 to serve as the Associate Vice President for Alumni Affairs at Cornell after a nearly two decade career in crisis management, communications, and marketing at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, OH. Michelle is an avid community volunteer and is an immediate past board member of the 125,000 member Association of Junior Leagues International, is a past President of the Junior League of Cincinnati, and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY. Michelle, her husband Pete Thorman, and their three dogs split their time between Ithaca and the Kettle Lakes in Tully, NY. Michelle is SO honored to serve Cornell and her fellow alumni. Please reach out and say hello—especially if you are returning to the Hill! GO BIG RED!!!

Gene Helfman, PhD ’79

Gene (PhD in Ecology and Systematics) has published a novel, Beyond the Human Realm, an eco-thriller/animal story for adults that follows the life of a male killer whale released into the wild and the people and whales instrumental in his release and acceptance into orca society. The book has received strong advance accolades and reviews, including a coveted 5-star Best Book rating from Chanticleer International Reviews. Profits from the sale of Beyond the Human Realm will be donated to orca conservation efforts. genehelfman@gmail.com

David Steward ’79

After many years in Manhattan and East Hampton I am finally getting used to farm life in the Hudson Valley. With my husband, Pierre, we are raising beef cattle, alpaca, ducks, guinea fowl and chickens for both meat and eggs. And this year we are raising turkeys for the first time as well. Gobble, gobble! My good friend, Eric Maffei ’80 (Engineering) is one of our first customers!

I was so delighted to be back at Tanglewood this summer to enjoy lots of wonderful classical music with the Boston Symphony and this fall have been traveling to Bard College for The Orchestra Now and this week heading back to NYC for Opening Night at Carnegie Hall with Yuja Wang. A robust season of music at Carnegie Hall, NY Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and the Albany Symphony awaits! davidhsteward@gmail.com