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Class Notes

Class Notes

The remarkable Simmons alumnae/i community spans the globe and generates a lot of news—personal and professional. “Notes” helps you stay connected to classmates and the entire Simmons Alumnae/i Network, a powerful, interconnected community of passionate professionals.

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In Memoriam

Click here for a recent list of alumnae/i whose deaths have been reported to us. To notify us of a death or to post a remembrance, please use the Class Notes form.

In Memoriam

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In Memoriam

Click here for a recent list of alumnae/i whose deaths have been reported to us. To notify us of a death or to post a remembrance, please use the Class Notes form.

In Memoriam

Current Class Notes

Gina Renee Drakeford


Class of 1980

Hello to all of you, my fellow Simmons University Alumni and the entire Simmons Community. It is an honor and a privilege to share my personal perspective with you on, why I feel mental health in Society Today should be recognized and addressed by all our colleges, universities, and throughout the world too. First allow me to give you some information about how involved I was in the graduating class of 1980. I was very active in my educational pursuit as well as other extra-curricular activities. In 1975 I was a freshman at Simmons and for the 5 years there I was active in diverse activities on and off campus. In 1977 I was chosen as a Domestic Exchange Student in Oakland, California. Also, I was selected by the Simmons University Board to be a student interviewer in the college admissions office. In addition to that I wrote for Vantage, ran for the office of Student Government Public Affairs Agent and won. The Health Center also had a board which I served on. The following message I would like to leave with all of you. As for me it's taken me over 40 years to reconnect with you. However after all those years I'm finally determined to let my voice be heard and to convey to others through my gift of writing and public speaking; those who suffer with mental health issues their mental illness is an illness like any others, diabetes or cancer. The Importance of Addressing Mental Illness I'm here to shed some light on how people who suffer with this disability are more than their diagnosis and can receive treatment and their life become restored. As I previously stated, it’s been over 40 years since I have been in contact with all of you. However I have remained in contact with Dr. Elizabeth Rawlins, the acting Associate Dean of Simmons and Helen Boulware Moore Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, and former psychology professor both retired now. I hold in high esteem these two strong African American Women who never gave up on me. They paved the way for my reconnection with Simmons University. To this day they remain mentors and close friends of mine. Dr. Elizabeth Rawlins has kept me abreast of all the progress Simmons has made. Due to their being by my side for over 40 years, I have finally turned the corner in Accepting Who I am as a Strong African American Woman, who after many years of running and hiding from all of you, my fellow alumnus I am back now, Standing Tall as an Empowered Woman. Back in 1980 the year when I graduated, The African American Professors and Administrators had an Awards Recognition program for the graduating class of May 1980. I was awarded The Fannie Lou Hamer Award. It was and to this day very near and dear to me. She was an African American Voting and Women’s Rights Activist. In 2017, I received the Dubnick Scholarship Award at Care Plus NJ Gala Event (please see the picture). I was selected to be keynote speaker on behalf of all the recipients of the scholarship. For 2 years I have been awarded the scholarship which I use for ongoing training in Mental Health. I have been studying Mindfulness at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and attended workshops offered by Care Plus NJ. I have also written a book titled Down But Never Out and because of the excellent care received by this agency. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Care Plus NJ Foundation to help The Partial Care Program where I am a Volunteer Recovery Guide. In this role, I co-facilitate groups and am there to be a positive role model for my peers. In all I do, I strive to be a universal, inspirational, motivational and a spiritual advocate for mental health.

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Catching Up

Allison (Camire) Donnici


Class of 2011

Allison (Camire) Donnici Married Phillip Donnici April 28, 2018 in Playa Del Carmen Mexico with family and friends in attendance. Here with other Simmons Graduates Nikki Burnham MSN 2017; Cherry Baker MSN 1996; Allison 2011; Kirstin (Gardzina) Rivituso 2011; Alishia McCoullough 2011.

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Marriages

Lynn (Abramson) Wiese


Class of 1959

Anita Burns Janon, '59 and Lynn Abramson Wiese '59, junior and senior year roommates in Morse Hall wonder where Simmons will put us up in May as we plan to attend our 60th reunion! We want to shock the University (!) with the largest 60th reunion class ever! So come on along, fellow '59ers, Let's Wow Simmons with our ongoing vitality! C'mon Bev, Joanie, Maxine, Marlene, Felice, Jean Ann, Nancy, Sue, Cookie, Bobbie (x2), Elaine, Sally and dozens more! Get it onto your busy calendars! Still hobbling along, or with walkers, canes, wheelchairs, cross-country skis -- whatever you've got - to make their way to Campus to produce the largest 60th reunion class ever! Bring your vitamins, meds, stories, determination and your spunk, for us all to share!

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Catching Up

Meghan (Schmillen) Hertzfeldt


Class of 2007

Co-Authored the recently published book "You Can Two!: The Essential Twins Preparation Guide." https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2JWQ79/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Publications/Exhibitions

Lauren (Vander Zanden) Slingluff


Class of 2010

Begining in February of 2019, Lauren Slingluff will serve as the Associate Dean of Library Administration at the University of Connecticut.

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Career Milestones

Christy Tortland


Class of 2017

Children's Literature MFA graduate Christy Tortland '17MFA was contacted in October by The Royal Netherlands Air Force's 323 TES (Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron) regarding her illustration "Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.” The 323 TES wanted to put the illustration on the tail of an F-35A Lightning II to commemorate their squadron’s 70th Anniversary on November 15, 2018. Of course, she said yes! The Dutch 323 TES, currently based at Edwards Air Force base in California, celebrated its 70th Anniversary on November 15th, using Tortland’s artwork to decorate the tail of their fighter jet. The Squadron’s emblem is Diana, mythological goddess of the hunt; their motto is “Impetu Feroci” meaning “Attacking Fearless." A Connecticut resident, Christy received her MFA degree in Creative Writing for Children from Simmons University and graduated from Lesley University with a BFA in Illustration. She is currently a freelance author writing children’s books for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, while also working on several books of her own as well. Her illustrations have been featured in ImagineFX magazine and in two graphic novels by Comicker Press. You can find her online at christytortland.com. “It’s exhilarating to know my ‘Diana’ is going to be soaring through the skies and breaking the sound barrier,” Tortland said. “It’s incredible." Image credit, used with permission: 323TES F-35 OT&E, Royal Netherlands Air Force

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Career Milestones

Edward T. Hart


Class of 2002

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) today announces Edward T. Hart, assistant dean for the law library and assistant professor of law at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law, is the 2018 recipient of AALL’s Volunteer Service Award. https://www.aallnet.org/news/aall-news-release-aall-recognized-edward-t-hart-as-associations-2018-volunteer-service-award-recipient/

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Awards and Recognition

Millicent Gorham


Class of 1976

Serves on the board of directors of the Association of Black Cardiologists and the United Medical Center, a not-for-profit hospital in Washington, DC. Presented at the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals annual meeting on the RFP process.

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Career Milestones

Patty Battle

Undergraduate
Class of 1979

I was a school and camp nurse for 19 years. One of my favorite summer camp jobs was in the Swiss Alps at the Leysin American School. 3 years ago I returned to Women's Health. I'm doing triage nursing at the Center for Women at Mount Auburn Hospital. My daughter Hannah is working in Institutional Advancement at Brandeis University while pursing an MBA there. My daughter Alice recently graduated from American University's Washington College of Law. She is a law clerk in Montgomery County Maryland. I stay in close touch with our classmate Barbara (Citronberg) Lown. Would love to connect with more classmates. Find me on Facebook!

Posted on November 6, 2018 in Catching Up

Helen Segall

Undergraduate
Class of 1954

Helen Segall, of Strafford, Pennsylvania, died at age 87 in Hope Maine on Wednesday August 29, 2018. She is survived by her beloved husband of 64 years, Stanley Segall, sons Hal Segall and Wynn Segall, daughters in law Lauren Gross and Anna Jenefsky, grandchildren Deanna, Hayley, Dora and Adin Segall, and her cousin Glenda Kaufman who was a sister to her. Helen arrived in this country from a displaced persons camp in Germany on Thanksgiving Day 1949, already fluent in Polish and Russian, conversant in German, Ukrainian and English, and having survived the trauma of the Holocaust. She subsequently earned a B.S in Library Science from Simmons College and a PhD. in Russian Language and Literature from Bryn Mawr College. She taught initially at Bryn Mawr College and Montclair State University and finally for 24 years at Dickinson College where she was Professor of Russian and Chair of the Russian Department until her retirement in 2000. Dr. Segall was a published scholar of the Russian Avant Garde. Active in numerous professional organizations, she served as President of both the Northeast Modern Languages Association and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. She founded major academic exchanges with the former Soviet Union and Russia, establishing a longstanding exchange program that sent students to Moscow and Russian faculty to Dickinson. In addition, Dr. Segall authored works on the Holocaust, including articles on the liquidations of the Dubno and Mizocz, Ukraine ghettos of World War II, published in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos. She spoke on the Holocaust and her experiences during WW II at academic conferences, synagogues, churches and schools, including after her retirement from Dickinson. She was active in the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Decendants. Born in 1931 to a warm and large family in Dubno, Poland (now Ukraine), she lived through the Soviet invasion and occupationof Eastern Poland, including Dubno, in 1939 at age 8, and then, at age 10, the 1941 Nazi onslaught and subsequent loss of nearly all her family. Together with her mother, Charlotte Schwartz (Shwom), aunt Natalie Markowski (Getrajer), and infant cousin Glenda, Helen survived on false papers as a Polish Catholic, including as a slave laborer for a German company in Ukraine and Germany. Helen was enormously energetic and had great zest for life. She was an avid collector of non-conformist Russian art, a lover of opera and classical music, a regular at the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra for many years, and a gifted gardener. Friend, colleague and mentor, and deeply loved and admired wife, mother and grandmother, she was inspiring to many and will be sorely missed. Internment and graveside service were held on Tuesday September 5, 2018 at Montefiore Cemetery in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her honor may be made to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.

Posted on November 6, 2018 in In Memoriam